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In Search of Themes - Keys to Teaching Qualitative Analysis in Higher Education

Journal article
Authors Petra Boström
Published in Qualitative Report
Volume 24
Issue 5
Pages 1001-1011
ISSN 2160-3715
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 1001-1011
Language en
Keywords Research Methods, Social Sciences, Psychology, Higher Education, Qualitative Analysis, Thematic Analysis, Didactics, Pedagogics, Social Sciences - Other Topics
Subject categories Psychology


Teaching research methods in psychology involves communicating a number of methods stemming from diverse philosophical traditions. The process of searching for themes is a central part of various qualitative methods of analysis and involves the transformation of coded raw data into a thematic structure. This process has often been briefly described which can create a problem for students who encounter qualitative analysis for the first time. The aim of the present paper is to explore how the process of transforming codes into a thematic structure can be described and communicated through higher education teaching. Literature on research methods and related teaching methods was explored and subsequently related to experiences of teaching and using qualitative methods in research. The essay-writing process was used to develop a language and pedagogical methods for teaching of thematic analysis. The reflective journey started off with concepts such as sorting and using visual tools found in the literature review, and continued with more active concepts such as abstracting and re-organising. I found the illumination of dominating epistemologies in psychological research to be a key element for understanding a more fundamental problem impeding students' learning processes. The reflective journey ended in a proposition of teaching exercises aimed at encouraging students' research creativity.

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