Thematic Analysis

  • Virginia BraunEmail author
  • Victoria Clarke
  • Nikki Hayfield
  • Gareth Terry
Reference work entry


This chapter maps the terrain of thematic analysis (TA), a method for capturing patterns (“themes”) across qualitative datasets. We identify key concepts and different orientations and practices, illustrating why TA is often better understood as an umbrella term, used for sometimes quite different approaches, than a single qualitative analytic approach. Under the umbrella, three broad approaches can be identified: a “coding reliability” approach, a “codebook” approach, and a “reflexive” approach. These are often characterized by distinctive – sometimes radically different – conceptualizations of what a theme is, as well as methods for theme identification and development, and indeed coding. We then provide practical guidance on completing TA within our popular (reflexive) approach to TA, discussing each phase of the six-phase approach we have developed in relation to a project on men, rehabilitation, and embodiment. We conclude with a discussion of key concerns related to ensuring the TA you do – within whatever approach – is of the highest quality.


Code Codebook Coding reliability Epistemology Latent Reflexive thematic analysis Semantic Thematic map Theme 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginia Braun
    • 1
    Email author
  • Victoria Clarke
    • 2
  • Nikki Hayfield
    • 2
  • Gareth Terry
    • 3
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Health and Social Sciences, Faculty of Health and Applied SciencesUniversity of the West of England (UWE)BristolUK
  3. 3.Centre for Person Centred Research, School of Clinical SciencesAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand

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