Exploring Structured Thematic Inquiry in Social Research


The overall objective of this paper is to demonstrate the relevance of deduction (with/out falsification) to qualitative research. It provides the reader with a concise synopsis of an alternative approach to qualitative research enquiry. The philosophy is supported by Hyde [1] who believes that both qualitative and quantitative research possess deductive and inductive components. It supports this by proposing that a quasi-deductive approach based on focused probing during structured interviews is pragmatic. It implies that the researcher has already known (from content analysis of secondary sources) what themes are important for understanding a phenomenon, process, structure or system and so seeks to obtain the relevant empirical data to support or add to them. This approach is an adaptation to a priori coding in which the researcher avoids having to look for themes in grounded theory approaches. There are two major variants or strains of structured thematic inquiry: the simple and the extended. The major difference between them is the depth of interviewing. In the simple variant the data collection ends once the researcher is satisfied that structures or processes are adequately validated from respondents’ accounts of phenomena. In the extended variant the researcher goes in-depth proposing new structural units to the initial structure.

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Berkeley, B. (2014) Exploring Structured Thematic Inquiry in Social Research. Open Access Library Journal, 1, 1-7. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1100889.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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