Thematic Analysis

Data obtained from qualitative methods are not well structured and researchers found very difficult for categorizing and analyzing. The responses from open-ended questions are such types of data where description are found without considering structure. The Emergence of grounded theory, phenomenology and interpretivism encourages more qualitative data for in-depth study and understanding of situations or problems. These prospects use the data to inform the test, audio or video record which are poor for statistical measurement. To draw a conclusion, these data must be carefully studied, analyzed, code and develop the theme. Conclusion of the theme is the fundamental basis of theory building. This process of data analysis is considered thematic analysis.

Thematic analysis is one of the approaches of data analysis used in qualitative research where data is reviewed and converted to the themes and connection is established for drawing conclusions. It extract the meaning and concepts from collected qualitative data by pinpointing, examining and recording patterns and themes. Thus, it is the process of detection, analysis and reporting the themes in data.

The central point of thematic analysis is to develop the themes. Theme is a kind of agreement that is derived from the descriptive statement of respondents. Wood (1997) explains the theme is used for describing the fact that the data are grouped around a main issue. The argument is based on who the theme is developed and what its function is. Similarly, Streubert (2011) defines the theme as “structural meaningful unit of data which is necessary for providing qualitative finding”. This definition focuses on the unstructured data for inference or conclusion. Hugler (1999) defines theme as “a recruitment and systematic occurrence which appears in qualitative data analysis”.

Researchers must be familiar with collected data at first for thematic analysis and then identify the code from data. Coding also reduces the data and makes more structure for drawing themes. Research initial theme/ sub-theme from code and try to develop the connection between theme and sub-themes. After careful review of connections of theme researchers write up which act as the final version of thematic analysis.


Braun & Clarke (2006) argue that there are generally sex phases of thematic analysis. Familiarity with in data, coding, searching the theme, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes and writing up are these phases which are widely adopted in academic writing. But researcher use following procedures for effective use of thematic analysis in research:

Recording and Transcribing:

The first step that researchers follow is to record the qualitative data in must suitable form. Recording is drawn in form of audio record, video record, visual record and so on. It depends on the situation, nature of variables and so on. The recorded data are transcribed into text format. While transcribing the record researcher must carefully view the record in order to reduce the loss of data.

Translating and coding

After transcribing the record, the next step is to translate it into a more readable format. It helps with the coding of records. Researchers must review the record more and more for effective translation. After that, I must again carefully read and identify the code from data.

Identifying (searching) themes/sub-themes

Researchers identify the themes by carefully reviewing the codes. It is the most difficult job of a researcher because there is no fixed rule for developing themes. Experience of researcher, knowledge about subject matter, expert advice and so on are key for developing theme and sub-themes.

Comparing and exploring

After identifying the theme researcher compare the themes/sub-theme and further reduce the data. Researchers check the themes and further reduce the theme by deducting similar themes.

Interpretations of relations and patterns (Reviewing themes)

Researcher than review the derived themes and linked these themes for development of relations and connection. While developing relations between themes the meaning of record of respondents must be carefully considered. The deviation form record or partial consideration reduces the quality of the conclusion of research.

Writing up

After developing the relationship between different theme researchers write up what she derived from the data. It is an essential component for drawing conclusions. It is use for developing theory or hypothesis or drawing conclusion.

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