Discuss about the Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research.
The following essay focuses on the critical analysis of the peer reviewed published research paper by Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke. The name of the paper is ‘Using thematic analysis in psychology Management’, published in the journal of Qualitative Research in Psychology, Volume 3, 2006, Issue 2, pp. 77-101, ISSN 1478-0887. It is available online from the website of the University of the West of England, at the URL, https://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11735. The publisher’s URL is https://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa. The paper is based on the usage of thematic analysis on the field of psychology, i.e., using thematic approach to analyze the qualitative data and how the method is different from other qualitative approaches for analysis. The advantages and disadvantages of this type of analysis are also outlined in this paper. The critical analysis of the above mentioned research paper includes the description and evaluation of the concepts mentioned in the paper, the appropriateness of the research design, quality of analysis, key findings and concluding remarks on the peer reviewed paper.
Critical analysis of conceptualization
The authors have addressed a current gap in the field of qualitative psychology, which is the absence of a research paper outlining the theory, application and assessment of thematic approach in the study of psychology. They have also focused on the problem that no such paper on this particular analysis on psychology is accessible to the students and researchers. According to Vaismoradi, Turunen and Bondas (2013), the authors have focused on the gap that is created by the lack of a research paper based on detailed analysis of thematic analysis approach in psychology and also focused on the inaccessible resources for further study. This is an useful observation by the authors that there are no such accessible papers that has dealt with thematic and qualitative approach analysis in psychology. There are papers on quantitative analytical approach on different aspects of psychological studies management but, there is lack of papers on qualitative analysis. Thus, it can be said that the authors have mentioned the problem statement clearly.
The authors indicated a good grasp of the subject. This can be traced from the way they have described the definitions and features of qualitative analysis and the position of thematic analysis among other types of qualitative analysis. The literature review of various other research papers, done by the authors has shown the knowledge of them on this particular subject.
The researchers, i.e. the authors have focused on the gap in the qualitative analytical research in the field of psychology. Hence, it can be said that they have a clear idea about the problem of analytical papers in psychology. Therefore, they have formulated the research questions on the thematic analysis, which is a part of the qualitative approach of analysis. The questions attempt to find out the relevance and significance of thematic analysis in psychological studies and also cover the features, advantages and disadvantages; and the limitations of thematic analysis. The authors also provided various examples in the field of psychology where problems can be solved by using thematic approach of analysis. Thus, it can be said that the questions are generated by the authors from the gaps in the existing literature.
The research questions are based on in depth analysis of the qualitative research approach. The authors have mentioned the research questions as a guideline of 6 phase for conducting thematic analysis on various topics in psychology along with potential drawbacks, which should be avoided while conducting thematic analysis, the features of a good thematic analysis and the pros and cons of such analysis. Thus, it can be said that, the authors have clearly mentioned the research questions before proceeding with the detailed methodology. The research questions and objectives are quite unambiguous because, the issues are clearly presented by the authors.
The purpose of this paper was to bridge the gap in the analytical study of psychology. There are many quantitative analytical papers that have addressed various issues in the psychological studies, while the authors have observed that, no paper is present that analyses various aspects of psychology in a qualitative manner. Thus, the significance of this paper is that the authors have attempted to find out qualitative approaches based on thematic analysis of psychological events. This is a new way of solving issues in the field of psychology. The students and researchers, who would be pursuing future studies and research on this subject, would be benefitted from this paper, as this might help to open up another ways of looking at things in a different manner.
Critical evaluation of appropriateness of design
Regarding the appropriateness of the research design, the approach of the authors must be reviewed first. It is found that, the authors did not follow the traditional structure of a research paper. Rather they have addressed the solution to the problem statement by writing theories on that topic. However, the authors have used two concepts, namely data corpus and data set. Data corpus refers to all the data that was collected for a particular research study and data set represents the data within the corpus that is used in a particular research analysis. Along with that, Braun and Clarke also mentioned the ways of selecting the appropriate data set. One way might be choosing the data with all or many individual data. The other way is to identify a data set by a specific analytical interest, and in the corpus, all that specific references becomes the data for the research project. In the thematic approach, these types of data are used (Ando, Cousins and Young 2014).
It can be said that qualitative narrative approach was used in answering the research questions. In narrative approach, authors describe the research phenomena in the structure of a story with a beginning, middle body and end remarks. According to Creswell (2012), the narrative approach allows the reader to think about the research topic or subject and analyse it critically by using his own judgments. The authors have described the approaches to use in future studies in detail using various definitions but they did not collect any survey or interview data to analyse it. Thus, they have followed the descriptive structure of analysis. It is a secondary research approach using secondary data. Since, the authors did not collect any primary data through survey or interviews, and have not done any sampling; hence, the aspects of data collection and sampling are not present in this paper. According to Smith (2015), a research study should be supported by both theories and data analysis. Only one type of analysis can produce a biased result. Therefore, it is advisable that for any research paper producing unbiased result, the researchers must analyse the literatures as well as collect data and analyse those scientifically to prove the theories. The authors have explained various aspects of thematic analysis through various literatures. This section covered the definition of thematic analysis, how it can be applied in a research study, what are the drawbacks of thematic analysis, how can the analysis be presented in a relevant manner to address the issues, its advantages and disadvantages. The authors have presented the above sections in a detailed way by only using various peer reviewed articles by other authors. However, they did not focus on data analysis. Rather, they focused on analysing the issues based on various definitions and theories. Thus, the choices and procedures for data collection procedures are not described in the above mentioned research paper. The authors have also not mentioned about any ethical consideration while conducting a research study. Ethical considerations are one of the most important factors in a research paper. Researchers must follow the guidelines and code of conduct while writing the paper. The authenticity and originality of a paper is very important, and all the researchers must follow that. However, in the abovementioned paper, the authors, Braun and Clarke, did not mention about the ethical considerations that need to be maintained.
Critical evaluation of quality of analysis
The qualitative or interpretivist data analysis methods were used in the research paper by Braun and Clarke. In other words, the thematic analysis approach was used by the authors. Thematic analysis refers to the method to identify, analyse and report the patterns or themes within the data. Various aspects of the research topic are interpreted through this approach. In the paper, the authors focused on collecting secondary data from various other literatures by other authors. Secondary data refers to the one that is collected from already published and authentic sources, such as, books, journals, magazines, official websites of the government and organizations, etc. (Ezzy 2013). These data are then analysed by using appropriate methods. If the data is numeric and has a pattern or trend, then it is more appropriate to use the quantitative data analysis approach. This helps to analyse and interpret the problem scientifically (Percy, Kostere and Kostere 2015). While, using only interpretive method entails theoretical analysis of the results. Here, the authors have used only interpretive method of analysis to describe the answers. The analytic procedures of qualitative or thematic approach have been addressed by the authors very clearly. They have cited various articles by various authors to explain the ways to apply thematic analysis in the subject of psychology.
The authors have focused on the issues of reliability and validity of thematic analytical approach. Citing a reference from Attride-Stirling, 2001; Boyatzis, 1998; and Tuckett, 2005, the authors have mentioned that no clear agreement has been made for using thematic analysis. It is a relatively poorer concept than other qualitative data analysis method, namely, grounded theory and narrative analysis. Braun and Clarke have also addressed the validity issue by saying that process reporting and detailed analysis often contain insufficient detail. Hence, the reliability and validity is often reduced. This approach is sometimes misinterpreted as themes emerging from the data and not the data corresponding to the theme.
The claims made by the authors are quite justified. They have provided a detailed discussion on the disadvantages of the thematic analysis approach of qualitative data analysis. They have also compared this approach with other methods of analysis. It has been helpful in understanding the difference between the approaches and the loopholes of this approach. For example, the authors have cited that, there are many versions of the grounded theory to suit different situations or topics. This is complicated but at the same time, these are useful to analyze and understand everyday real life experience of people in detail for understanding the phenomena in question. Thematic analysis is not as broad as the other approaches.
Critical analysis of the findings
The authors have made a detailed analysis of the thematic approach of the qualitative data analysis. They have explained in details about the features, advantages and disadvantages of this approach. Using multiple citations from various publications, they have explained various aspects of this analysis. Under different headings, the authors have explained the basic concepts of this analysis and how it can be implemented to analyse different aspects of psychology. Going through these headings and the corresponding paragraphs, it can be clearly understood what the authors have tried to convey. They have started with the definition of thematic analysis, followed by explanation of 6 phase guidelines, various data types, the benefits and disadvantages of it. All the explanations are vividly illustrated by the authors along with relevant citations from various other authors’ publications. For example, they have stated thematic analysis as foundational method for the qualitative analysis, which are complex, diverse and nuanced and supported this statement from the literature of Holloway and Todres, 2003. At the same time, they argued that thematic analysis should be considered as an analytical method in its own right, which is contradictory to Ryan and Bernard’s (2000) theory that stated that thematic coding was a method, which should be performed within major traditions of analytics. Along with that, the authors have provided a detailed discussion on the benefits and disadvantages of this approach.
However, the paper is completely based on theoretical analysis of thematic approach on psychology. It did not do any proper research by collecting data on a particular topic and analysing it. A standard research paper should contain five major chapters namely, Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Data Analysis and Discussion, and lastly Conclusion. The paper by Braun and Clarke did not follow this structure. They have mainly followed the structure of an essay and described various nuances of thematic analysis. The authors have set the problem statement or research questions as a broad topic, such as, the gap in the field of research in psychology in regards to the application of thematic analysis. They also wanted to present a paper on this topic, which would be accessible and useful to the students, researchers as well as to the teachers. A thorough review of the paper helps to understand the concept of thematic analysis and its application in the research study in psychology. The research questions or problem statement as mentioned in the beginning of the paper, were addressed by the author in the paper. All the topics, such as, the concept, 6 phase guidelines, pitfalls to avoid during research, the factors for making a good analysis, advantages and disadvantages of the thematic approach, have been explained clearly in the paper, which relate to all the problem statement. Hence, the problem statements were addressed by the findings. However, the authors only followed qualitative approach to get the findings and did not support it by collecting and analysing real life data.
In the critical analysis of the paper ‘Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology’ by Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke, various aspects of the topic have been evaluated and explained. The review paper contains an overview of the paper, critical analysis of research concept, appropriateness of the research design, quality of analysis, findings and lastly, the concluding remarks. The critical evaluation addressed that the authors have clearly defined the purpose of the research and the research topic. They have been specific about the problem in the research field of psychology. Hence, they have written their paper with qualitative analysis in mind. Braun and Clarke have given detailed focus on the advantages and disadvantages of the thematic analysis in psychology and the things that this analysis offers to the psychologists. Thematic analysis is an interpretivist method of analyzing. Hence, the interpretation varies from one person to the other and therefore, the findings may differ in this approach. Since, qualitative analysis does not deal with scientific analysis of data; hence, the authors did not collect primary data. They collected secondary data from multiple publications of several authors and based their analysis on application of thematic approach in the field of psychology. It can be concluded that, this is a good and useful paper by Braun and Clarke, which has a detailed insight of thematic analysis and its application in qualitative analysis of various topics of psychology.
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