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      Thematic analysis of qualitative data: AMEE Guide No. 131

      1 , 2 , 1 , 2
      Medical Teacher
      Informa UK Limited

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          Abstract

          Thematic analysis is a widely used, yet often misunderstood, method of qualitative data analysis. It is a useful and accessible tool for qualitative researchers, but confusion regarding the method's philosophical underpinnings and imprecision in how it has been described have complicated its use and acceptance among researchers. In this Guide, we outline what thematic analysis is, positioning it in relation to other methods of qualitative analysis, and describe when it is appropriate to use the method under a variety of epistemological frameworks. We also provide a detailed definition of a theme, as this term is often misapplied. Next, we describe the most commonly used six-step framework for conducting thematic analysis, illustrating each step using examples from our own research. Finally, we discuss advantages and disadvantages of this method and alert researchers to pitfalls to avoid when using thematic analysis. We aim to highlight thematic analysis as a powerful and flexible method of qualitative analysis and to empower researchers at all levels of experience to conduct thematic analysis in rigorous and thoughtful way.

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          Most cited references9

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          Shedding the cobra effect: problematising thematic emergence, triangulation, saturation and member checking.

          Qualitative research is widely accepted as a legitimate approach to inquiry in health professions education (HPE). To secure this status, qualitative researchers have developed a variety of strategies (e.g. reliance on post-positivist qualitative methodologies, use of different rhetorical techniques, etc.) to facilitate the acceptance of their research methodologies and methods by the HPE community. Although these strategies have supported the acceptance of qualitative research in HPE, they have also brought about some unintended consequences. One of these consequences is that some HPE scholars have begun to use terms in qualitative publications without critically reflecting on: (i) their ontological and epistemological roots; (ii) their definitions, or (iii) their implications.
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            Using Templates in the Thematic Analysis of Text

            Nigel King (2004)
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              Classifying the findings in qualitative studies.

              A key task in conducting research integration studies is determining what features to account for in the research reports eligible for inclusion. In the course of a methodological project, the authors found a remarkable uniformity in the way findings were produced and presented, no matter what the stated or implied frame of reference or method. They describe a typology of findings, which they developed to bypass the discrepancy between method claims and the actual use of methods, and efforts to ascertain its utility and reliability. The authors propose that the findings in journal reports of qualitative studies in the health domain can be classified on a continuum of data transformation as no finding, topical survey, thematic survey, conceptual/thematic description, or interpretive explanation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Medical Teacher
                Medical Teacher
                Informa UK Limited
                0142-159X
                1466-187X
                May 01 2020
                : 1-9
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Wright-Patterson Medical Center, Dayton, OH, USA;
                [2 ] Uniformed Services University of the Healthy Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA
                Article
                10.1080/0142159X.2020.1755030
                32356468
                9461b6c4-224c-497b-869f-7db32682ba8a
                © 2020
                History

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