Thematic analysis is the study and analysis of a research methodology's themes, patterns, or central idea. The word thematic is a derived form of the word theme. The meaning of the word theme is the background information, main idea, and concept of any literature. Thematic analysis is the process of analysing the main idea of a study. It is used only for qualitative research methodology. It is an important tool of research that helps the researcher relate the central idea of any literature. In this way, the research can enhance the credibility of the study. Thematic analysis can be presented in any form.
It is presented mostly in the shape of charts, figures and tables. However, it can also be presented in descriptive form. The thematic analysis leads the researcher to understand the central idea of the study. The main idea extracted from the literature will be related to the study to improve the expression of the research. It is useful in finding the research gaps and assisting the research in taking a specific direction. However, the researcher needs to be careful not to drag the study. The study must remain specific and relevant to the subject matter. It is also helpful in building logical sequences.
Key steps in utilising the thematic analysis to analyse data
Thematic analysis helps interpret original literature and data to provide valid information in qualitative research. There are six major steps to analyse data utilising thematic analysis. These steps include:
- Gaining Self Information of Original Transcript
- Organising the Gathered Information into codes
- Evaluate the Theme of the Study
- Analytical Review of the Themes
- Segregating Main Idea of the Themes
- Writing up Thematic Analysis
1. Gaining Self Information of Original Transcript
The researcher needs to understand the original transcription and data in the first step. It will help the researcher link with the selected topic and subject matter. The researcher must use the literature in different manners. The researcher may use double quotes marks to use original words or rephrase according to the context of the study. It will help reflect sound knowledge and authenticity in the study. Lack of knowledge and understanding of original writing will make it difficult for the researcher to conduct effective research.
2. Organising the Gathered Information into Codes
In the next phase, the researcher needs to organise the gathered information into codes. The information gathered from different sources can be used effectively if the researcher is aware of the subject matter and have a strong grip over the collected information. It will be easier for the researcher to label and categorise different information. In this way, the researcher will be able to segregate the information into different sections. Therefore, all the important information will be utilised to make a good piece of code for research.
3. Evaluate the Theme of the Study
The researcher must develop a strong understanding of the themes and ideas of all the collected information. It will help the researcher to take a clear stance. It will be useful to construct and make a sound and clear hypothesis statement. An objective hypothesis statement will help the researcher to make clear and sound research questions. It will help the researcher take a clear stance. It will also guide the researcher on how to take the research forward. Therefore, the researcher needs to understand all collected information sources. The researcher can build logical sequences with a clear understanding of the themes collected from the information sources.
4. Analytical Review of the Themes
At this stage, the researcher needs to analyse the theme of the study. This stage is another filter point for the research work. It will help the researcher identify the least important and irrelevant pieces of information. It will also help the researcher find and identify the missing links between the research work. Therefore, after identifying the missing links, the researcher needs to gather sufficient information to fill the gaps. The researcher may need to repeat the process multiple times, or it may work on the first attempt. The researcher must ensure that the study does not comprise quality and content. The researcher must also ensure that the collected information may be integrated with other work to produce a high-quality stance. Therefore, the researcher must also consider integrating different research works.
5. Segregating Main Ideas of the Themes
The researcher must segregate the main ideas of the gathered information. The allocation of the separate section will help a researcher identify the key concepts that may be used in the study. Moreover, it will also help make a logical sequence of the concepts. The researcher will organise the research work in different sections. Each section will have a different set of information. A researcher can mix two or more different concepts to develop a new stance.
6. Writing up Thematic Analysis
The researcher hunts, gather and systematically organises the collected information. The researcher needs to write up a thematic analysis in the final stage. Based on the study's understanding and subject matter, the researcher needs to reproduce the collected information. The researcher should build a logical sequence of the study. The study must contain the researcher's analysis and context of other pieces of literature. The study must be properly cited for each reference according to the guidelines. A well-cited and referenced research work will have a minimum score of plagiarism.
People who are not aware of effective thematic analysis may face challenges. They may not be able to collect all the necessary information. In organised data will be a challenge to build a logical sequence. It will also confuse the researcher in identifying which information is to use in different sections. The use of six key steps mentioned in this article will help you utilise thematic analysis to analyse data. It will help the researcher bring clarity, sequence and sound knowledge to the study.
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