IMPLICATIONS (check the reference part in this article for

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICING
THEMATIC ANALYSIS

It is very
difficult to pen down what sort of interpretation thematic analysis implies to,
as every qualitative study under thematic analysis has its own uniqueness and
the particulars differ from study to study. The research analyst can always
search and look for the so far published examples, specifically the thematic
version he/ she planning to use for own research purpose, to gain access to
hands-on reference work. However, sometimes getting proper and good reference
work becomes difficult for the researcher as thematic analysis, though
popularly practiced, but is not an often-named analytical technique. Few
studies that can serve as ready to use reference by the future thematic analyst
are, thus, mentioned herewith: Ellis and Kitzinger, 2002, study on
gender equality of age for having sex; Kitzinger and Willmott, 2002, a
study on women’s experience of polycystic ovarian syndrome; Toerien and
Wilkinson, 2004, study on women’s experience of body hair removal; and Frith
and Gleeson, 2004, study on (inductive thematic analytic method used)
perceived body image of men in relation to clothing (check the reference part
in this article for detail specifications of these studies). The mentioned
studies are real good examples to learn from and all of them are majorly
conducted in social context.

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While
applying thematic analysis, it is important to mark that the analytical
implications need to be grounded in, and at the same time need to go beyond the
data surface. This understanding should be applied even in case of a sematic
level analysis. In this regard as directed in Braun and Clarke’s (2006) article
on conducting thematic analysis the analyst, at the end phase of research, need
to explain few relevant questions in relation to thematic analytical
implications that include: “what does this theme mean?, what are the
implications of this theme?, what conditions are likely to have given rise to
it?, why do people talk about this thing in this particular way? and what is
the overall story the different themes reveal about the topic?” These
questions on thematic implications can be easily explained once the analyst has
confident idea regarding the thematic map (as discussed in the previous section
on guiding steps of thematic analysis).

RECOMMENDING THEMATIC
ANALYSIS TO THE QUALITATIVE RESEARCHERS FOR PRACTICE

Before
implementing thematic analysis into any data set for research purpose, it is
worthwhile to understand why one would go for thematic analysis in qualitative
research. Apart from being a flexible and researcher friendly method that can
help as a start up to qualitative research, thematic analysis is well comprised
with scientific steps and organised base of analytic element that makes the
process a highly recommended method in qualitative research domain (Braun and
Clarke, 2006; Crawford et al., 2008). However, this method is most appropriate
even when the researchers are interested deriving themes and, evaluate deeper
level thoughts and meaning from data set that has been collected from more than
one participant.

Thematic
analysis, henceforth, provides the research analysts with the opportunity to go
beyond the words that has been stated by the participants during data
collection, and search for the more deep and unambiguous meaning in terms of
themes. Simultaneously, by applying thematic analysis, the researcher can gain
better understanding of the participant’s attitude, vision, feeling and thought
reflections as this method not only focuses on the verbal documents, but also
gives equal emphasis on the non-verbal expressions demonstrated by each
participant during data collection time.

The themes,
thus, developed act as the clue to further connect with the original data and
help form the basis for final interpretation. Regarding this nature of thematic
analysis, Namey et al. (2008) have rightly pointed out that thematic analysis “May
include comparing the relative frequencies of themes or topics within a data
set, looking for code co-occurence or graphically displaying code
relationships.”

However, to
conduct thematic analysis a large amount of data is required. As suggested by
Joffe and Yardley (2004), thematic analysis should “describe the bulk amount
of the data”. This is important because though a single statement is
enormously significant in thematic process, but only a few statement cannot
depict or narrate the diverse relationship of data concern in terms of
meaningful cause and effect phenomena. Further, the data need to be large in
amount for analysis to do full justice with the research topic, especially when
more participants are involved in the data collection process. In this regard,
Blacker (2009) have specified that a rich, detailed and large amount of data
helps getting “the predominant and important themes” from the process of
analysis.

In the
thematic analysis process, the data is ideally analysed without being
influenced by the already existing themes and this further ensures an analysis
of participant’s views from the data set in most unbiased manner. To be more
specific, this unbiased attitude towards the analytic process helps formulating
themes, which essentially contribute towards understanding and better
evaluation of ideas, and issues that serve as the major research concern.

In this
sense, as already mentioned in the chapter discussion, every single statement
of the research participant is considered as valid for analytic purpose to
identify the concerned concepts. These concepts are, thus, important to
understand the views and underlying meanings as conveyed by the participants in
a hypothetical way until they are confirmed through final analytical process of
evaluation and interpretation.

CONCLUSION

Thematic
analysis, as pointed out several times in this chapter discussion, is one of
the most flexible and widely used method in research for qualitative data
analysis. The method provides a good hold in the realm of qualitative research
even to the young/ new researchers. It is one of the most effective and
appropriate method to implement when the study samples are pre-determined and
pre-defined in research. Thematic analysis is equipped with the flexibility to
start data analysis from the very beginning of the study, even during the time
of data collection. Further, this method provides flexibility to approach
research analysis in both the ways, viz., inductive and deductive (Frith and
Gleeson, 2004; Hayes, 2000; Halldorson, 2009).

Therefore,
thematic analysis is a comprehensive tool for the researchers to analyse data
set in terms of identifying the evolving themes from the content provided by
the participants or gathered through other sources like news articles, speech
delivered, etc. during the time of data collection (Hayes, 1997). As the
application of thematic analysis has wide scope, its interpretive potential
becomes infinite with availability of rich data content. It is possible to link
and compare data content in terms of participant’s concepts and opinions
recorded in different situations and at different times. Thus, thematic method
provides an elaborated and diverse range of interpretation during in-depth
analysis process.