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Methodological Literature Review

Problem

Analyzing qualitative data from research is a challenging but necessary task in the innovation process. Data acquired during the Learn phase will reveal insights and challenges that lead to research question development and can often provide clues to potential interventions.

Solution

Thematic analysis can be used to make sense of seemingly unrelated material. It can be used to analyze qualitative information and to systematically gain knowledge and empathy about a person, an interaction, a group, a situation, an organization or a culture.

Background

While thematic analysis has been practised for some time, it has not been subject to a great deal of rigorous scholarly documentation. Typically, learning the process has been passed from one professional to a protégée.
Documenting the methodology was undertaken by Dr. Richard Boyatzis, a professor of organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University  who wrote the book,  Qualitative Information: Thematic Analysis and Code Development (1998) which outlines the principles of thematic analysis. Dr. Boyatzis  describes thematic analysis as a process for “encoding qualitative information.”

Used When

Applied during problem framing, thematic analysis helps researchers move from a broad reading of the data toward discovering patterns and framing a specific research question.