Demystification and Actualisation of Data Saturation in Qualitative Research Through Thematic Analysis

Muhammad Naeem*, Wilson Ozuem, Kerry Howell, Silvia Ranfagni

*Corresponding author for this work

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The concept of saturation in qualitative research is a widely debated topic. Saturation refers to the point at which no new data or themes are emerging from the data set, which indicates that the data have been fully explored. It is considered an important concept as it helps to ensure that the findings are robust and that the data are being used to their full potential to achieve the research aim. Saturation, or the point at which further observation of data will not lead to the discovery of more information related to the research questions, is an important aspect of qualitative research. However, there is some mystification and semantic debate surrounding the term saturation, and it is not always clear how many rounds of research are needed to reach saturation or what criteria are used to make that determination during the thematic analysis process. This paper focuses on the actualisation of saturation in the context of thematic analysis and develops a systematic approach to using data to justify the contribution of research. Consequently, we introduce a distinct model to help researchers reach saturation through refining or expanding existing quotations, codes, themes and concepts as necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2024

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