qualitative text .2014-02-08  qualitative content analysis or qualitative analysis of content

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  • LSE Department of Methodology,

    MY428/528 - LT 2014

    Qualitative Text Analysis

    Course Convenor: Aude Bicquelet (a.j.bicquelet@lse.ac.uk)

    Office Hours: Thursday 11:30-13:30



    Thematic and Qualitative Content Analysis

    Week 3

  • 1. Definitions


    2. Thematic Analysis (TA) & Co.

    TA & other Methods


    3. Models & Approaches

    - Classical/Network/Hybrid

    - Qualitative Content Analysis


    4. Trustworthiness & Robustness


    Lecture Outline

  • Definitions and


  • (Boyatzis, 1998)

    - A process to be used with qualitative information. It is not a another

    qualitative method but a process that can be used with most, if not

    all qualitative methods (methods of data collection).

    - Thematic analysis is a process for encoding qualitative information.

    What is Thematic Analysis?

  • Plethora of definition

    Thematic analyses seek to unearth the themes salient in a text at different

    levels () (Attride-Stirling, 2001).

    Thematic analysis is a search for themes that emerge as being important to

    the description of the phenomenon. The process involves the identification

    of themes through careful reading and re-reading of the data. It is a form

    of pattern recognition within the data, where emerging themes become the

    categories for analysis. (Fereday & Cochrane, 2006)

    A research method for the subjective interpretation of the content of text

    data through the systematic classification process of coding and identifying

    themes or patterns (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005)

    What is Thematic Analysis?

  • Whats the ambition of TA?

    o To classify qualitative data through a transparent, coherent and consistent

    coding strategy.

    o To generate classifications or typologies allowing to capture the richness of the

    phenomenon under study.

    What is Thematic Analysis?

  • What kind of data can be analysed with TA?

    Interviews/focus group transcripts

    Field notes

    Parliamentary debates

    Policy documents

    Public consultations

    Newspaper articles



    TV ads ()

    What is Thematic Analysis?

  • What can be coded?


    Types of arguments




    Group dynamic

    Colour, Posture, character (paintings)

    Mixed: i.e. topics + values + rhetorical appeal to emotion


    What is Thematic Analysis?

  • What to look for in the data?



    Indigenous themes or words

    Metaphors and analogies


    Theory-related material


    What is Thematic Analysis?

  • What is a theme?

    A theme is a fundamental concept (or idea) that we are trying to extract from the data in order to describe or explain it.

    A theme may be identified at the manifest level (directly observable in the information) or at the latent level (underlying the information).

    A theme is an outcome of coding (coding is the process of looking for themes)

    The compilation or integration of a number of codes in a study is often called a

    codebook , code manual, coding scheme or coding framework.

    Concepts and Jargon

  • Corpus: Collection of materials which is determined in advance by the analyst and on

    which work is being done (Bauer & Gaskell, 2009)

    Units of analysis: the entity on which the interpretation of the study will focus (speech-

    act; article; whole document)

    Units of coding: the most basic segment, or element, of the raw data or information that

    can be assessed in a meaningful way regarding the phenomenon (paragraphs; sentences;


    Concepts and Jargon

  • Why am I confused about the difference between a theme, a code, a label, a

    category, an incident, a data-chunk, a global theme, basic theme?

    o Its not you! Its everybody!

    o Social scientists use different words to refer to the same thing or refer to different

    things with similar words.

    o ie: - Glaser and Strauss talk about themes that need to be sorted into categories

    - Attride-Stirling refers to basic themes and organizing themes

    - Miles and Huberman refer to codes and thematic units

    - We refer to sub-categories and categories

    Terminological Issues

  • How can I survive this terminological madness?

    Be clear and consistent about your low-order and high-order analytical

    strategy. (i.e: I will look for themes which I will arrange into categories).

    Use established jargon (i.e; Using the model developed by Attride-Stirling,

    my basic themes will be sorted into organizing themes)

    Embrace the semantic confusion and create new jargon

    (I will look for micro-units which I will organize into super-galactic units)

    Terminological Issues


  • Thematic Analysis & Co.

    TA & other Methods

  • From a purely chronological perspective, TA was developed based on

    some of the principles of Argumentation analysis ( Toulmin, 1958)

    Argumentation analysis aims to provide a structured method for analysing

    negotiation processes and to disentangle them.

    Thematic Analysis aims to explore the understanding of an issue rather

    than to reconcile conflicting definitions of a problem (see Attride-Sterling


    TA and other Methods

  • From a purely epistemological perspective, TA very much resembles Grounded Theory.

    Grounded Theory involves the generation of theory from data. Rather than beginning with a hypothesis, data is collected and analysed through constant iterations between the researcher and the data until saturation is reached (See Glaser and Strauss, 1967).

    Thematic Analysis: If grounded theory is based around developing a theory that can explain findings, thematic analysis aims to summarise/encapsulate the data (not necessarily with the aim of developing a new theory).

    TA and other Methods

  • From a purely methodological perspective, TA is very much akin to

    Qualitative Content Analysis or Qualitative Analysis of Content.

    Qualitative Content Analysis goes beyond merely counting words to

    examining language intensely for the purpose of classifying large amounts of

    text into a large number of categories that represent similar meanings.

    (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005)

    Thematic Analysis: shares the same aims; uses very similar approach(es).

    TA and other Methods

  • Content Analysis


    A research Technique for the

    objective, systematic, and

    quantitative description of the

    manifest content of communication

    (Berelson, 1952).


    To test hypothesis about texts by

    analysing their manifest and latent


    Thematic Analysis

    Definition A Research Method for the subjective interpretation of the content data through the systematic classification process of coding and identifying themes or patterns (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005: 1278)

    Aim To provide an integrated view of speech/texts and their specific contexts.

    TA and other Methods

  • Content Analysis

    Epistemological Foundations

    Deductive (top-down approach)



    Coding Closed

    Indicators Validity; Reliability; Generalisability.

    Thematic Analysis

    Epistemological Foundations

    Inductive (bottom up approach)






    Credibility; Transferability;

    Dependability; Conformability

    TA and other Methods

  • Models and Approaches

  • Classical Approach Zang and Wildemuth (2009)

    1. Prepare the Data

    2. Define the Unit of Analysis

    3. Develop Categories and a Coding Scheme

    4. Test your Coding Scheme on a Sample of Text

    5. Assess your coding consistency

    6. Code all the Text

    7. Draw Conclusion from the Coded Data

    8. Report your Methods and Findings

    Models and Approaches

  • A codebook usually looks like this:

    Models and Approaches

  • Results usually look like this: Occurrences

    7 4








    Models and Approaches

  • Thematic Networks Analysis

    Web-like-illustration that summarizes the main themes constituting a piece of

    text (Attride-Stirling, 2001)

    Thematic analysis systematizes the extraction of:

    i. Lowest-order premises evident in the text (Basic Themes)

    ii. Categories of basic themes grouped together to summarize more abstract

    principles (Organizing Themes)


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