This page presents a concise overview of the steps involved in the template analysis technique. The description assumes your data is in the form of interview transcripts. However, the approach can be used with any kind of textual data, for example, detailed participant observation field notes.
- Define a priori themes if this is appropriate to your methodology (visit the what is template analysis? section for more on the philosophical assumptions underlying qualitative research).
- Transcribe your interviews and read through them to thoroughly familiarise yourself.
- Carry out initial coding of your data. Identify the parts of your transcripts that are relevant to your research question(s). If they are encompassed by one of your a priori themes, ‘attach’ the code to the identified section. If there is no relevant theme, modify an existing theme or devise a new one.
- Produce your initial template. You may choose to wait until you have carried out initial coding on all your transcripts, but commonly the initial template is developed after a sub-set of transcripts has been coded. Group the themes you have identified in the selected transcripts into a smaller number of higher-order codes which describe broader themes in your data. You can have as many levels of coding as you find useful to distinguish, but remember that too many levels may make the template less clear than it should be. You may carry out this coding by hand on the printed transcripts or electronically using a CAQDAS program.
- Develop your template by applying it to the full data set. Whenever you find that a relevant piece of text does not fit comfortably in an existing theme, a change to the template may be needed.
- Use your ‘final’ template to help you interpret and write up your findings.
- At one or more of the coding stages described above, you should carry out some kind of quality and reflexivity check to ensure that your analysis is not being systematically distorted by your own preconceptions and assumptions.