Why Use Thematic Analysis - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1279 Words
Date:  2022-11-20


In this study, qualitative interviews were employed as the primary methods of data collection on the underlying assumptions of Advanced Skills Teachers on the methodology and issues regarding their specific roles. One of the advantages of qualitative interviews is that they provide unique insights on a social issue hence allow the interviewees to reflect and analyze the questions in a distinct manner (Folkestad, 2008). Importantly, the decision to use interviews was informed by the idea that key informants not only offer insights into an issue but also direct the researcher to other sources that can corroborate or provide contrary data. Also, the use of interviews required the researcher to be mindful about the type of data analysis to be carried out especially in the initial stages. As such, thematic analysis was adopted as the method of analysis.

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In general, thematic analysis is the most commonly used method to analyze interview transcripts. In this study, the conceptual framework that guided the researcher to apply thematic analysis was informed by the ideas put forward by Braun and Clarke (2006). Braun and Clarke (2006) opine that thematic analysis is used to identify, analyze, and report patterns or themes in the data. That informed the decision to deploy thematic analysis since rigorous thematic approach enables a researcher to come up with insightful analysis that helps answer the research questions. Also, thematic analysis acted as a complementary of the research questions by allowing the investigation of data from two perspectives. One perspective was based on coding in an inductive manner and data-oriented while the second perspective stemmed from the research questions and checked if the data was consistent with the research queries and whether it provided valuable information.

Demonstration of Rigour Thematic Analysis

In accordance with Creswell (2007), the data collected from the interviewees was analyzed using a three-stage process. Creswell (2007) describes these stages to include transcription, identification of themes through coding, and representation of data. In the same way, Braun and Clarke (2006) argue that themes/patterns are obtained via a process that involves rigorous data familiarization, coding, theme development, and revision. Although the study did not utilize huge amounts of data, the use of Nvivo software increased efficiency and save time. Primarily, the analysis procedures were similar to those highlighted by Braun and Clarke (2006).

The first step in data analysis entailed familiarization and transcription. Transcription was important and done soon after the interviews to enable clarification. The interview transcripts were then loaded into the Nvivo software and the process of generating codes started. In the initial stages, the coding process was informed by the conceptual framework of the study which was based on Jongbloed's (2003) market model. After being satisfied that the codes generated from the four transcripts were aligned with the research questions, the researcher proceeded to the next step that involved data-oriented coding and identification of patterns. More work on the data resulted in the development of more nodes and sub-nodes.

Theme development was the third stage whereby the researcher read and double checked the coded nodes to look for significant patterns of meaning in the broader spectrum. Here, preliminary analysis gave out about fifteen major categories and their sub-categories that included reward, recognition, support, feelings, and roles as shown in the figure below.

The advantage of using Nvivo is that it counts the number of times a certain word or phrase has been used. In addition, it produces the word tree which helps the researcher to identify, arrange, and rearrange more themes.

These results were further analyzed in accordance with Braun and Clarke which enabled the researcher to identify key relations and subthemes. From the initial results of the Nvivo analysis, the researcher ran search queries for the most used categories. In particular, these words included teacher, school, think, recognized, help, know, rewarded, results, impact, experience, and AST. The query results of these words showed the words they are closely related to, their frequency of use, their context of use. The figures below show some of the query results.

From that, the researcher was able to employ the inductive method which helped him to narrow down and identify key relationships between the words. Importantly, the text reference that showed the areas of use and how the respondents used the words in answering the questions further helped in developing the major categories. According to Thomas (2003), the majority of inductive studies give out reports that have between 3 and eight categories. Therefore, the ultimate goal was to have about four categories for this study. To do that, the researcher examined the text reference of the categories in question and through inductive approach, determined those that addressed the research questions most suitably. The figure below shows an example of a text reference to one of the categories.

In this study, it is important to note that coding and identification of themes had already been done using another approach. Therefore, the idea to use thematic analysis and Nvivo was only to complement those findings.

Even though themes and sub-themes had been earlier developed using a different approach, caution was taken not to use them or infer themes from the research questions. According to Maguire and Delahunt (2017), one of the common mistakes made by researchers is to use interview questions as themes since they are highly deductive and do not consider emergent themes from an induction perspective.

The final outcome entailed three major themes that include support, impact, and experience. Under support, the respondents felt that more could be done at the school level by the head teachers and other staff to streamline the delivery of services by advanced skills teachers. At the local government level, the respondents felt that the authority could hire more ASTs and provide more funds for training as well as create awareness on their role. The figure below shows the mind map of the support theme.

Regarding experience, the respondents noted that they worked as ASTs for about two or three years. Also, they noted that they enjoyed their work.

Stepping away from the inductive approach, the sub-category of reward and recognition appeared to be highly inclined on the level of enjoyment, job motivation, and satisfaction. However, a deeper look led to the conclusion that it belonged to the theme of impact. That is because reward and recognition indicate more the level of importance attached to the ASTs than the level of job motivation and satisfaction. That insight informed the mind map below.


Analysis of qualitative data usually presents many challenges not only for inexperienced researchers but also for the experienced ones. In this study, thematic analysis framework by Braun and Clarke (2006) was applied to illustrate how the analysis was conducted. That helped to demonstrate the stages involved in translating the interview transcripts into major themes and sub-themes regarding the assumptions of ASTs in their work. The search tools in Nvivo were vital as they allowed the researcher to explore his data on different levels. In turn, that improved the rigour of the analysis by confirming or disproving some of the researcher's perceptions about the data.


Braun, V. and Clarke, V., 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), pp.77-101.

Creswell, J.W. and Poth, C.N., 2017. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage publications.

Folkestad, B., 2008. Analysing Interview data possibilities and challenges (No. 13). Eurospheres project.

Jongbloed, B., 2011. Markets in Dutch higher education. Higher education and the market. New York & London: Routledge Taylor & Francs Group.

Maguire, M. and Delahunt, B., 2017. Doing a thematic analysis: A practical, step-by-step guide for learning and teaching scholars. AISHE-J: The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 9(3).

Thomas, D.R., 2003. A general inductive approach for qualitative data analysis.

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Why Use Thematic Analysis - Essay Sample. (2022, Nov 20). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/why-use-thematic-analysis-essay-sample

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