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Template Analysis

Template Analysis. Developed by Nigel King and others.

The term "template analysis" refers to a particular way of thematically analysing qualitative data. The data involved are usually interview transcripts, but may be any kind of textual data. Template analysis involves the development of a coding "template", which summarises themes identified by the researcher(s) as important in a data set, and organises them in a meaningful and useful manner. Hierarchical coding is emphasised; that is to say, broad themes encompass successively narrower, more specific ones. Analysis often, though not always, starts with some a priori codes, which identify themes strongly expected to be relevant to the analysis. However, these codes may be modified or dispensed with altogether if they do not prove to be useful or appropriate to the actual data examined

See e.g.

Book icon King, N (2004) Using templates in the thematic analysis of text, in C.Cassell and G.Symon (Eds.) Essential Guide to Qualitative Methods in Organizational Research. London: Sage.



Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Developed by Jonathon Smith. See e.g.

Book icon Smith, J.A. (ed) (2003) Qualitative Psychology: A practical guide to research methods. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage.



Authors of this page:Dawn Clarke and Graham R. Gibbs

Affiliation: University of Huddersfield

Date written: 27th November 2008




Learning outcomes

  1. Learn how large the sections of text that are to be coded need to be
  2. Understand that the same passages can be coded to more than one code.
  3. Learn to leave wide margins and space between lines on transcripts so there is room to make notes about coding.
  4. Learn when definitions of codes are necessary.


Coding is a fundamental process in many different approaches to qualitative analysis, yet many novice researchers find it both hard to code the data and even harder to develop new codes from the data. Originally coding was done as a way of making it easy to bring together all the passages from different cases that were, in some sense, about the same thing. Relevant passages of text were marked with codes and then it was relatively simple to gather together - to retreive - all the passages that had been coded in the same way. Coding involves reading the text and this close reading can also be used as an opportunity to develop new codes that can be used in the template.


Loudspeaker iconiPhone friendly version of the videoKing discusses issues concerned with coding, that is making links between themes or codes in the template and sections of text in the transcripts.:


Creative Commons License
The resources on this site by Graham R Gibbs, Dawn Clarke, Celia Taylor, Christina Silver and Ann Lewins are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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