Thematic Analysis

Key points

  • This course teaches thematic analysis (Boyatzis, 1998) using NVivo
  • You will learn the specificities of the method, type of research questions it answers, its different stages and the kind of results it generates
  • This course can be taken as a standalone unit or combined with another methodological seminar, any of the method courses or an NVivo course.
This course focuses on thematic analysis as a suitable method for identifying relationships between themes and clusters of themes, creating second-level constructs and generating meta-themes across people, places and processes in a dataset. We open with the type of research questions that are suited to a thematic analysis and consider the core concepts underlying the method — pattern recognition and labelling consistency — as representing two analytical skills required to recognise and interpret repetitive occurrences of an item over time. We implement the four stages of the method in NVivo: decisions about sampling procedure, units of analysis and coding units; four approaches to identifying themes and generating codes; codebook validation; and pattern seeking in the data. In considering pattern seeking, we look at different techniques such as theme scoring, scaling and clustering which, in qualitative terms, are equivalent to the reporting of themes by frequency or intensity, the creation of meta-themes and the generation of second-level constructs. We conclude with a critical appraisal of the methodological quality of published studies based on thematic analysis and discuss best practices in reporting findings.

Although no previous knowledge of any of the four methods of qualitative data analysis is required, participants should have some familiarity with qualitative research.

Half-day from 9:00 to 13:00 or full-day from 9:00 to 17:00.

This course is taught by invitation only in universities, research centres or institutions.

Teaching methods
Lectures, demos with NVivo and hands-on exercises.

Please email me for information on fees.

Combining courses
This course is part of a five-course series on methods of qualitative analysis that includes Methods of Qualitative Data Analysis, Qualitative Content Analysis, Cross-case Analysis and Grounded Theory. It can be taken alone or in conjunction with the other related courses. It can also be taught before, after or simultaneously with the Introduction to NVivo or Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo courses.

This course was taught at

As a freelance methodologist, I train social scientists and humanitarian practitioners in qualitative analysis, decolonising research and participatory methodologies. I coach research teams, teach doctoral-level courses in method schools and I consult for humanitarian aid agencies worldwide.

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