Issues and challenges in the use of template analysis: two comparative case studies from the field

Teresa Waring, David Wainwright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most problematic issues for researchers who conduct qualitative research using semi-structured, unstructured interviews or story telling data collection methods is the analysis of large quantities of rich data. In the past this has often led to fairly unmethodical approaches to analysis which in turn has led to qualitative business and management research being seen as insubstantial and unworthy of consideration. A relatively recent development in organisational research has been the application of Template Analysis to rich unstructured qualitative data following the primary data collection phase. Template Analysis appears to have emerged from the USA during the 1990s and academics familiar with the Grounded Theory approach to data analysis may see similarities in the techniques used. Nevertheless, it has gained credibility in the UK through the work of Nigel King and other colleagues researching in health and sociology related fields. This paper provides an overview of the origins of Template Analysis and discusses how it has been used to structure qualitative data. It then goes on to examine through two case studies how Template Analysis has been extended and used by the authors in two different research projects. Both case studies involved the study of Information and Communication Technology. In the first case study the research team worked within a Primary Care Trust in the North East of England and the second project focused on the NHS Secondary Care sector. This paper critically examines these two case studies in terms of their particular research philosophy, epistemological approach and the lessons learnt from the techniques employed. The paper then provides a discussion of the principles and practicalities of template analysis and explores the benefits to the business and management research community at large.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
JournalThe Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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