Reviewing the literature using the Thematic Analysis Grid.

Anderson, Deborah, Lees, Becky and Avery, Barry (2015) Reviewing the literature using the Thematic Analysis Grid. In: 14th European Conference on Research Methodology (ECRM) for Business and Management Studies; 11-12 Jun 2015, Valletta, Malta. ISSN (print) 2049-0968 ISBN 9781910810118


A review of academic literature is an essential element of the dissertation development process, providing students with an understanding of key theories and authors in their topic area. In the absence of practical guidance on synthesizing concepts and ideas to produce a coherent, well-linked literature review, “The Thematic Analysis Grid” was developed for postgraduate students in a UK Business School. Guidance for literature review writing is available in text books on research methods and dissertation writing where the focus tends to be on search, retrieval, recording and writing, with some focus on critical review. There are also examples of text books wholly devoted to the literature review. However, a strong, critical review of academic literature, synthesising key themes and identifying consensus and contradictions is not achieved simply by sourcing and reading relevant papers and knowing how to reference properly. In an attempt to provide some practical guidance on synthesis, the authors developed “The Thematic Analysis Grid”, a tool which enables students to record key themes and ideas from the literature with a view to linking these with other themes and ideas. In this way students are able to approach their reading from an overview perspective, constantly referring to previously identified themes. In brief, “The Thematic Analysis Grid” is a matrix with papers listed in the rows (in date order) and themes in the columns. Students are encouraged to identify possible themes from their cursory reading of abstracts, but to be prepared to introduce new ones as their reading progresses enabling them to keep meaningful notes on their reading. The Thematic Analysis Grid has been successfully used with students for several years. Whist formal evaluation has yet to be carried out, many positive comments have been received through module evaluations and staff student consultation.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page