Analyzing Talk and Text II: Thematic Analysis
This text will appear as chapter 22 in Van den Bulck, H., Puppis, M., Donders, K. & Van Audenhove, L. (Eds.) (2019, in press). The Palgrave Handbook of Methods for Media Policy Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
18 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2017 Last revised: 4 May 2019
Date Written: April 25, 2019
Thematic analysis (TA) is a popular and foundational method of analyzing qualitative policy data. It is concerned with the identification and analysis of patterns of meaning (themes) and constitutes a widely applicable, cost-effective and flexible tool for exploratory research. More generally, it constitutes a cornerstone of qualitative data analysis. Drawing principally on Braun and Clarke’s (2013; 2006) work, the chapter outlines when the use of this method is suitable and makes practical suggestions about how to plan and conduct TA research. Few policy studies employing TA contain a transparent discussion of research methods. This chapter stresses the importance of research transparency and methodological reflexivity: researchers should not only document what they do; they should also explicitly argue how and why they opted for specific methods and discuss implications for future empirical research.
Keywords: qualitative analysis, research transparency, methodological reflexivity, media policy, coding, theme development, elite interviews
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