Thematic Analysis

Teaching qualitative research
methods to undergraduates
HEA Psychology Network Workshop
21st-22nd April, 2010
Thematic analysis
Professor Nigel King
Department of Behavioural Sciences
University of Huddersfield
Why teach thematic analysis?
Lecture content
Practical work
Suggested reading
Why teach thematic analysis?
Basic skill in qualitative research
Forms of thematic analysis used in
many approaches
 Grounded theory
 Some narrative approaches
More generally teaches students to look
closely and carefully at text
Lecture content
Define thematic analysis, which means defining
“Themes are recurrent and distinctive features of
participants’ accounts, characterising particular perceptions
and/or experiences, which the researcher sees as relevant
to the research question”
(King & Horrocks, 2010, p.150)
Acknowledge variation in the approach
Emphasis skills of careful and open reading
Take through worked example
Practical work
Essential that students do some hands-on work if
to grasp what thematic analysis involves
Provide short transcript(s), and clear step-by-step
guide to task
Scale of task can be set to time available
May be stand-alone session, or extend over
several sessions
May run on from interviewing and transcribing
Works well as an assessment task
 Students well-prepared through worked
example and own practical session(s)
 Can encourage reflection on process as
part of assignment
 Keep amount of text manageable
e.g. approx 6 sides (double spaced) for
assessment weighted 50% on 20 credit module
Suggested reading
Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis
in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3:
King, N. & Horrocks, C. (2010) Interviews in
Qualitative Research. London: Sage. (chapter 9)
Langdridge, D. (2004) Introduction to Research
Methods and Data Analysis in Psychology. Harlow:
Pearson Education. (chapter 14)