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Resources for Thematic Analysis


We (Virginia Braun & Victoria Clarke) have organised this reading list into the following sections, to help guide you through the diversity of approaches and practices around thematic analysis. For some, we provide a succinct summary of what they offer. This is intended as a starting- rather than end-point!

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Practical guidance on Braun and Clarke’s approach to TA, written by us and various collaborators


A very brief introduction to TA for researchers in the field of positive psychology.

A general introduction to TA that includes a discussion of the history and development of TA and maps the terrain of TA (as we see it), also includes a detailed worked example using interview data from a study of women’s experiences of being childfree

A commentary on Fugard and Potts’ (2015) paper proposing a power analysis tool for determining sample size in TA research. We identify various problematic assumptions underpinning this tool, and Fugard and Potts’ conceptualisation of TA and themes, and explain why the tool is not appropriate for use in our version of TA.

This chapter discusses the use of TA in the context of sport and exercise research and provides a worked example of coding and theme development using focus group data from a broadly experiential study of women’s perspectives on, and experiences of, exercise.

A general introduction to TA including a worked example of coding and theme development using qualitative survey data from the study of gay men’s sense-making around their clothing and appearance practices.

  • Huxley, C., Clarke, V. & Halliwell, E. (2016). Report 2: Are lesbian and bisexual women ‘protected’ from sociocultural pressure to be thin? A reflective account of a thematic analysis study. In E. Lyons & A. Coyle, (Eds.), Analysing Qualitative Data in Psychology (2nd ed.) (pp. 306-321). London: Sage.

A condensed version of a paper originally published in the Journal of Health Psychology (2014) with reflective commentary written by the first author addressing various aspects of the research process and the written report.

A chapter-length worked example of TA using the interview accounts of two men who had transitioned from the army to civilian life.

A general introduction to TA including a worked example of coding and theme development using qualitative interview data from a study of bisexual women’s visual identities.

A very brief introduction to TA for researchers in the field of health and well-being research.

An introduction to TA for researchers in the field of counselling and psychotherapy research, with a worked example of a TA of interview data from a study of lived experiences of treatment/therapy for anorexia.

An introduction to TA for researchers in clinical and health psychology, and featuring worked examples of coding and theme development from an interview study of sexual health professionals’ views on impediments to sexual health in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

A brief discussion of TA for critical psychologists, including a consideration of the potential of TA as a method for critical psychology.

A very brief introduction to TA for quality of life and well-being research.

Our qualitative textbook that includes our most detailed account of TA to-date, including a worked example of TA using a focus group discussion on the ‘so-called’ obesity crisis. The companion website includes various data sets that can be used in teaching TA.

A paper that considers some of the challenges of teaching TA to psychology undergraduates and outlines some strategies for maximising the often limited curriculum time dedicated to the teaching of qualitative methods in psychology.

A general introduction to TA, including a detailed worked example using interview data from a study exploring gay student’s experiences of university life.

The original paper in which we outlined our approach to TA; reprinted in: B. Gough (Ed.), (2014). Qualitative research in psychology. London: Sage.

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Practical guidance on Braun and Clarke’s approach, written by other authors


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Practical guidance on Braun and Clarke’s approach – forthcoming publications written by us and various collaborators


A general introduction to TA for health and social science researchers.

  • Clarke, V. & Braun, V. (forthcoming, 2018). Applied thematic analysis. In P. Brough & S. Occhipinti (Eds.), Research methods for applied psychologists: Design, analysis and reporting. London: Routledge.

A discussion of different types of TA, particularly those advocated for use in applied research, including template and framework analysis. We argue that the such approaches can result in themes that are not fully developed (domain summaries rather than conceptually founded patterns), and highlight calls among applied researchers for thematic analysis to be used to produce fully realised themes, which are more likely to result in ‘actionable outcomes’ than domain summaries, and thus more useful applied research.

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Useful papers on thematic analysis by other authors


We highly recommend this paper – the discussion of the limitations of ‘domain summaries’ compared to fully realised themes is particularly useful.

A useful definition of the concept of the ‘theme’; helpful if you are struggling to make sense of the difference between domain summaries and fully realised themes.

A useful discussion of some of the problems with the use of inter-rater reliability in qualitative analysis.

A useful discussion of the limitations of domain-summaries and the importance of developing full realised themes in order to produce ‘actionable outcomes’ in applied research.

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Other approaches to thematic analysis


Approaches to TA that advocate the use of coding frames and inter-rater reliability scores (‘small q’ or ‘coding reliability’ TA)

Approaches to TA based on the use of a codebook or coding frame

 

 Other approaches to TA

 

 Related approaches

 

 Early examples of TA

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Examples of descriptive/semantic (‘straightforward’) TA


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Examples of conceptual/latent ('sophisticated') TA


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Examples of essentialist TA


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Examples of constructionist TA/thematic discourse analysis


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Examples of TA using interviews


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Examples of TA using focus groups


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Examples of TA using qualitative surveys/questionnaires


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Examples of TA using story completion tasks


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Examples of TA using secondary sources


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Examples of TA using diaries


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Examples of TA using ‘naturalistic’ data


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