In this session we will explore the background to thematic analysis as a method, including its theoretical flexibility, and scope of application. We will look at different models of thematic analysis, but will focus predominantly on Braun and Clarke’s reflexive thematic analysis (see suggested reading). We will consider the kinds of data and research questions for which thematic analysis is suited. We will also explore how computer tools can be used to support the process of thematic analysis, such as Atlas.ti and Nvivo. If you have access to either of these tools it would be useful to have them open, but this is not required for the session or for conducting your own thematic analysis.


Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.

Whilst this frames the method in Psychology research, it can certainly be applied more broadly, as we will discuss.

If you cannot access the paper please contact me (alison.twiner@open.ac.uk) and I will send it to you.

If you have time, another paper that may be of interest is:

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2020). One size fits all? What counts as quality practice in (reflexive) thematic analysis? Qualitative Research in Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2020.1769238

S11_ Thematic Analysis – Alison Twiner