Contextualising and using Reflexive thematic analysis in nursing research: A worked example

Emma Rehman, Anna Conolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To support evidence-based practice nursing researchers use qualitative research to understand healthcare professionals’, patients’ and relatives’ experiences and views. Reflexive Thematic Analysis (RTA) has become a go-to data analysis technique for nursing researchers undertaking qualitative research. However, the justifications for using this analysis technique, and its
application within the context of a wider philosophical/methodological/methods/analysis approach,are under discussed. This paper guides both nursing students and novice researchers in choosing and
applying RTA to their research.
Aim: To a) rationalise the use of RTA in nursing research within a wider
philosophical/methodological/methods/analysis approach and b) provide practical guidance in applying it to qualitative data.
Discussion: In undertaking qualitative research, a rigorous philosophical-methodological-method-analysis approach is required. Prior to selecting an appropriate data analysis technique researchers are required to consider the research question within their own world view. This has implications for their
choice of methodology and consequently the data collection method(s) and data analysis technique(s) used. In applying RTA researchers should be mindful of its conceptual roots. In this paper the seminal work of Braun and Clarke (2006) conceptually grounds and provide a processual approach to rigorously
and systematically analyse qualitative health research.
Conclusion: Applied well, within the context of the wider philosophical-methodological-methods approach RTA produces high quality, credible findings.
Implications for practice: Transparent and rigorous data analysis practices lead to credible findings, supports Evidence-Based-Practice and contributes to the growing body of nursing research.

Key words: Reflexive Thematic Analysis, data analysis technique, methodology, methods, Philosophy
Original languageEnglish
JournalNurse researcher
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Feb 2024


  • Reflexive thematic analysis
  • data analysis technique
  • methodlogy
  • methods
  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Contextualising and using Reflexive thematic analysis in nursing research: A worked example'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this