Thematic analysis is an approach used for identifying, analyzing, and interpreting patterns of meaning within qualitative data. It is a flexible approach that can be used to explore a wide range of research questions.
Thematic Analysis (TA) is best thought of as an umbrella term for a variety of different approaches, rather than a singular method. Different versions of thematic analysis are underpinned by different philosophical and conceptual assumptions and are divergent in terms of procedure. Most recently, leading thematic analysis proponents, psychologists Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke distinguish between three main types of thematic analysis: coding reliability approaches, code book approaches and reflexive approaches.
Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2021). Thematic analysis: A practical guide. SAGE.
Thematic Analysis: The website - https://www.thematicanalysis.net/
Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic Analysis. In H. Cooper (Ed.) APA handbook of research methods in psychology: Vol 2 Research Designs. American Psychological Association https://parrohamc.edu.np/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Braun12PsychHandbook.pdf
Braun, V. Clarke, V., and Weate, P. (2016) Using thematic analysis in sport and exercise research. In B. Smith & A.C. Sparkes (Eds.). Routledge handbook of qualitative research in sport and exercise. Routledge.
Terry, G. (2021). Doing thematic analysis. In E. Lyons & A. Coyle (Eds.), Analysing qualitative data in psychology (3rd ed., pp. 148-161). Sage.
Key Methodological Papers
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. doi: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2019). Reflecting on reflexive thematic analysis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 11(4), 589-597. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1628806
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2020). Can I use TA? Should I use TA? Should I not use TA? Comparing reflexive thematic analysis and other pattern‐based qualitative analytic approaches. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12360
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2020). One size fits all? What counts as quality practice in (reflexive) thematic analysis?. Qualitative research in psychology, 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2020.1769238
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2021). To saturate or not to saturate? Questioning data saturation as a useful concept for thematic analysis and sample-size rationales. Qualitative research in sport, exercise and health, 13(2), 201-216. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1704846
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2022). Conceptual and design thinking for thematic analysis. Qualitative Psychology, 9(1), 3. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/qup0000196
Kiger, M. E., & Varpio, L. (2020). Thematic analysis of qualitative data: AMEE Guide No. 131. Medical Teacher, 42(8), 846-854. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159X.2020.1755030
Studies that have used Thematic Analysis
Siegel, J. A., & Sawyer, K. B. (2020). “We don’t talk about feelings or struggles like that”: White men’s experiences of eating disorders in the workplace. Psychology of Men & Masculinities, 21(4), 533. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/men0000253
Eynon, M. J., O’Donnell, C., & Williams, L. (2018). Gaining qualitative insight into the subjective experiences of adherers to an exercise referral scheme: A thematic analysis. Journal of health psychology, 23(11), 1476-1487. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105316656233
Irvine, K. N., Fisher, D., Marselle, M. R., Currie, M., Colley, K., & Warber, S. L. (2022). Social Isolation in Older Adults: A Qualitative Study on the Social Dimensions of Group Outdoor Health Walks. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(9), Article 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095353
Olson, J. L., Papathomas, A., Kritz, M., Ntoumanis, N., Quested, E., & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2021). Challenges to Engaging Older Adults in a Group-Based Walking Intervention: Lessons From the Residents in Action Trial. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 30(5), 788–798. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2021-0009
Robertson, S., Zwolinsky, S., Pringle, A., McKenna, J., Daly-Smith, A., & White, A. (2013). ‘It is fun, fitness and football really’: a process evaluation of a football-based health intervention for men. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 5(3), 419-439. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2013.831372
Assess Your Understanding
Have a go at this multiple choice quiz - Click here - (It says Grounded Theory at the top but its on TA)
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