Technical aspects in the coding


Adapted from Paillé and Muchielli , 2011.

In order to process a thematic analysis, technical choices should be done:

a)     The nature of the support : paper or (specialized) software [see further ADD CROSSREF]

b)    The mode of the annotation of the themes (linked to the choice of the software):

Here are the commonly used:

  • Annotation in the margin
  • Annotation inserted (up to the extract/ color code)
  • Annotations on files one per theme where the source (e.g. interview A) and the extract (e.g. line 12-29) are written. There is thus no annotation in the text.

The best choice for the type of annotation  is very personnal. One should aim to combine ease of use and efficacy.

c)     The type of treatment: continuously or sequential.

  • The continuous Thematization: 
    Themes are given as the reading of the text and the thematic tree is built in parallel progressively, with fusion, regrouping, hierarchical classification…until a final tree at the end of the research. This process offer an accurate and rich analysis. But it is complex and time expensive. It is more adapted for a small corpus and more personnalized Thematization.
  • The sequential Thematization:  
    The analysis is more hypotetico-deductive and is done in two steps:

1) Themes are elaborated based on a sample of the corpus and listed. To each theme correspond a clear definition. A hierarchy could already be proposed or not

2) The list is then strictly applied to the whole corpus, with the possibility to add a limited number of new themes.

This type of analysis is more effective but goes less in depth. It is however more appropriate for an analysis in team.

To go further in the practical aspect of thematic analysis

Paillé P, Mucchielli A. L'analyse qualitative en sciences humaines et sociales. 2ème ed. Paris: Armand Colin; 2011.