Thematic analysis is a technique for assessing qualitative data. Qualitative data encompasses a collection of texts, such as interviews, audio, or video recordings. The research evaluates the data to find major patterns, recurring concepts, and forms of meaning. Thematic analysis’s primary aim is to identify the common themes that emerge during qualitative data analysis. The thematic analysis first emerged in psychological research pioneered by Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke; however, it was later adopted by various social sciences disciplines and humanities. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of thematic analysis with appropriate examples.

What Is Thematic Analysis?

The study of meaningful relationships is known as thematic analysis. It involves looking at the themes in your data source to find significance. The most important thing to remember is that since your research questions guide this approach, it is not required to discover every potential theme in the data. On the contrary, you can concentrate on the significant components connected to your research questions.

Even though you will start your research with research questions, it is crucial to keep in mind that they are not always set in stone. Research questions may change as you go along with your decoding and theme recognition because the thematic analysis is sometimes somewhat of an exploratory process. When analysing a set of qualitative data, thematic analysis is useful for learning more about people’s beliefs, understanding, attitudes, or ideas. The qualitative data can be acquired through interviews, survey questionnaires and by reviewing social media profiles.

What Are Common Research Questions In Thematic Analysis?

Research questions in thematic inquiries can be structured in the following manner:

  • What is the perception of people about something particular? (It can be legislation, debate, or ongoing social issues)
  • What are the experiences of people about something particular? (it can be related to childhood experiences, relationships, job experiences, or travel experiences)
  • What are the ideas and opinions of non-specialists about a certain change or phenomenon?
  • How is identity constructed in modern society? What parameters determine the concept of identity?

When Should You Use Thematic Analysis?

The ability to split and classify huge amounts of information in a way that makes it much easier to comprehend makes thematic analysis very valuable when working with large amounts of information. Thematic analysis is frequently applied to data collected from, for instance, questionnaires, social media platforms, polls, and discussions since it is particularly helpful when seeking subjective data, such as individual experiences, perspectives, and beliefs.

What Are The Different Techniques Of Thematic Analysis?

Thematic analysis has four techniques, or approaches researchers can use in their dissertation writing process. Here are the following approaches:

Inductive Approach

The inductive method entails drawing conclusions and developing themes from observations without using assumptions. You would begin your study with no conception of the patterns that will surface and let the data define the themes. Inductive approach means moving from specific to general.

Deductive Approach

A deductive technique entails starting your analysis with a set of concepts that you obviously anticipate finding in your data, as opposed to the inductive approach. This method typically draws from preexisting knowledge, research, or an established idea you would discuss in your literature review. The deductive approach means moving from general to specific.

Semantic Approach

The semantic approach only identifies themes based on what is clearly or blatantly expressed or written, disregarding the inherent meaning of the information. This strategy is typically used for examining perspectives and views because they frequently contain clear language.

Latent Approach

A latent method, in opposition to a semantic approach, concentrates on inherent meanings and examines the determinants of semantic features. A latent approach also incorporates an aspect of interpretations, where data is not simply taken at its literal value. Still, additionally, interpretations are conceptualised in comparison to the semantic approach, which only considers information literally.

What Are The Steps To Conduct Thematic Analysis?

Once you finalise the thematic approach for your research, you need to take practical measures to conduct thematic analysis. You can follow the below-mentioned guidelines for conducting a thematic inquiry:

Step 1: Familiarisation

Before you delve deeper into each of the different issues, it is essential to be familiar with the facts. Rereading the entire data set, absorbing the context, and, if necessary, making handwritten notes are all examples of how to do this. You will be able to understand your data with the aid of this.

Step 2: Coding

Coding includes underlining or labelling specific words, phrases, or even a set of words in the data that together signify something. Coding is helpful when attempting to distil the information from the data set. Identify keywords from the data set and derive codes by highlighting the keywords in the data set. You can assign codes by assigning terminologies and words for the information contained in the data set. You must carefully review the transcripts of each interview at this point and mark anything that stands out as significant or particularly remarkable.

As you read the material, you can continue adding new codes while underlining all the words and phrases that best fit these codes. After reading the text, you can compile all the information into categories that are designated by codes. These codes give you a quick summary of the key ideas and frequent meanings that appear across the data. If you cannot do it on your own and experience difficulties, you can always reach out to experts at dissertation writing services and take their assistance in thematic analysis for your research.

Step 3: Generate Themes

You can now create themes using your codes. There may be multiple codes for identical expressions in a theme. It will indicate how many codes are used repeatedly and which ones are useless, so you can just eliminate them.

Step 4: Evaluate the Themes

During the evaluation, you must contrast the themes with the initial data and search for any gaps or meaningless findings. After connecting your themes to the data, you can change them based on how well they support and explain them.

Step 5: Define The Themes

Once you evaluate the themes, the next step is to assign names to the overarching themes for clarification.


Thematic analysis is a qualitative research approach used by researchers to identify common themes and patterns in the data. It is helpful in exploratory research, which paves the foundation for quantitative research. Thematic inquiries provide deep insights into people’s opinions, attitudes, beliefs and worldviews.

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