Question 2b Agnes’s analysis

Good answers included:

  • Some people talked about how thematic analysis MIGHT involve counting up common themes and then talked about why turning qual into quan was a good thing.
  • Good attention to command term Explain by describing why TA was a good thing using to terms such as validity and credibility.
  • Links to the fact that when the treated data, e.g. resulting themes were expressed in the Pps “own words” it was more valid.
  • Some good ideas about Agnes potentially having preconceptions about what she was expecting to find and that thematic analysis reduced the influence of these on her analysis, as it was still grounded in what was actually said as opposed to “a priori coding”.

Common problems:

  • Some people did not focus on thematic analysis which is a method of qualitative data analysis, they focused instead on the collection of qualitative data as opposed to quantitative data.
  • Some people didn’t really pay attention to “Explain” which requires you to state what the strength is before then going on to say why this is a good thing.
  • Some people talked about thematic analysis as though it is a way of turning qual into quan but actually some types of thematic analysis like grounded theory are entirely qual with no quan and so this wasn’t strictly true and needed wording with care.

Model answer 1 

Answer 1: One strength of thematic analysis as a way of analysing the qualitative data is the fact that the process is replicable and therefore can be made less subjective through the use of multiple researchers each of whom analyses the transcripts using the set stages of thematic analysis. This is known as checking for inter-rater reliability (or researcher triangulation to use a more qualitative phrase).
This is a strength because it means that the themes which are induced from the data are not so subjective, (one researcher’s interpretation of what is important); the themes that arise will only be deemed important if several of the researchers have hit upon the same themes.

Model answer 2

Answer 2: One strength of thematic analysis as a way of analysing the qualitative data is the fact that the resulting themes are generally often still in the actual words of the participants
This is important because it means that the data actually tells about the things that are important to the participants and therefore makes the analysis more useful and meaningful (credible)  rather than in content analysis where a priori coding often means the data tells more about the researcher than the interviewees.