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Template Analysis

Template Analysis. Developed by Nigel King and others.

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.

Book icon Crabtree, Benjamin F., Miller, William L. (1999) Doing qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, Calif. ; London : SAGE,
2nd ed.

Grounded Theory

Grounded Theory is an inductive form of qualitative research where data collection and analysis are conducted together. Developed originally by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss. See e.g.

Book icon Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Chicago: Aldine. The original text on the grounded theory approach.

See also: Grounded Theory

Miles and Huberman

A very popular sourcebook of approaches to qualitative data analysis that includes discussion of coding, themes, and the use of visual techniques like tables and diagrams.

Book icon Miles, M.B. and Huberman, A.M. (1994) Qualitative data analysis: a sourcebook of new methods. Beverly Hills, CA: 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.

Braun and Clark

Journal symbol Braun, Virginia and Clarke, Victoria (2006) 'Using thematic analysis in psychology' Qualitative Research in Psychology; 3: 77-101.

A priori

Pre-existing. Used here to refer to themes or codes that the researcher has identified before examining the data, and maybe even before collecting the data in interviews etc. They may arise from a variety of sources, for example: the researchers own ideas or experience; concepts and themes from the related literature and other previous research; or from the issues and questions that funders or commissioners of research may want addressed.

Constructing the Template

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

Affiliation: University of Huddersfield

Date written: 20th November 2008





Learning outcomes

  1. Learn about the role of the template as a means of organising codes or themes.
  2. Understand how to arrange themes into a hierarchy and why this is done.
  3. Appreciate that themes can be generated before data analysis or during data analysis

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.

The template itself is a way or arranging the themes or codes that the researcher is using or has discovered in the data. Major, or more general themes appear near the top of a hierarchy of themes and gathered below them (as sub themes) are other themes that exemplify different aspects, types, or interpretations of the major themes. Sub-themes can themselves have sub-themes and so on to give potentially many levels of themes - though the research does not have to use all levels. In Grounded Theory, all the codes are discovered in the data (or developed from the data). In that sense the coding is 'grounded' in the data. In contrast, in Template Analysis codes or themes can be identified or developed before the data are examined - what are called a priori codes - alongside developing codes by reading and examining the data.


Loudspeaker iconiPhone friendly version of the videoHere Nigel King discusses the most distinctive aspect of Template Analysis, the template itself. This is a way of organising the main themes or codes into a hierarchy:


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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