Nordic teaching tour

20 October 2017
Professor Virginia Braun teaching thematic analysis in Scandinavia
Professor Virginia Braun teaching thematic analysis in Scandinavia

Professor Virginia Braun (Ginny) from the School of Psychology, has returned home from two weeks teaching the ins and outs of thematic analysis to Nordic doctoral students and, in some cases, academic staff.

The method has become enormously popular across the social and health sciences, and other disciplines, since Ginny and Victoria first wrote about thematic analysis in 2006. According to Google Scholar Classics, the paper is the most cited academic publication of 2006.

Ginny finds it very rewarding to communicate her expertise in this area. She describes it as “an extremely useful and flexible method for qualitative research, not just for psychology."

People in the workshops are deeply engaged and motivated to learn, although for Ginny, one of the best realisations people can have is that (good) thematic analysis is hard work and takes time.

“People often imagine qualitative research is really easy, or is a good thing to do if you don’t like statistics. That’s not the case.

“Misperceptions abound, and giving people the tools to argue with editors and reviewers [read the checklist for editors and reviewers] is a key part of the workshops.”

The tour, which saw Ginny teach two day intensive workshops at Reykjavik University in Iceland, University of Stockholm in Sweden and the University of Tampere in Finland, is the accumulation of a busy year for her.

On the back of her inaugural lecture in June, Ginny has been editing a book (with Victoria Clarke, University of the West of England, and Debra Gray, University of Winchester) which was published earlier this month, entitled Collecting Qualitative Data: A Practical Guide to Textual, Media and Virtual Techniques. She's currently working on another book about thematic analysis for SAGE Publications Inc, due to be completed next year.

Ginny, who is regularly asked to share her knowledge and expertise overseas, enjoys the experience a lot.

“I get to go to some fascinating places and meet amazing people. Over the past couple of years I’ve taught qualitative research in the United Kingdom, Australia, Oman and Iran, which fosters great connections.”

Read frequently asked questions and find other resources about thematic analysis.