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Thematic Analysis of Interview Data

The interview under analysis was conducted and three participants have been involved into the study. Six questions focused on defining participants’ goals, beliefs, and ability to logical thinking. While conducting the interview, similar thematic patterns were defined among the participants. Specifically, while thinking over the most favorite historical or famous figures, all the interviewees chose people who were famous for incredible leadership and decision-making skills. To support the idea, all the participants applied to such words as “leader”, “pioneer”, and “strong” while answering the second questions. While referring to the first questions, attention should be paid to the fact that that all figures contributed to specific spheres, but in the past.

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While describing the quality of chosen figures, the participants referred to such aspects a persistence, strong character, and unconventional thinking. The first two character traits were congruent with each other and are opposed to the latter. However, further answers united all three issues into a conceptual whole. In particular, all the interviewees resorted to the word “right”, “decision-making”, “goals”, and “objectives”. In this regard, it was possible to infer that all individuals strived to achieve certain goals and become strong and independent while reaching their objectives. Such phrases as “right path and the right decision” and “the right choice” were presented in the transcript. Finally, while deliberating on the importance of the chosen quality, all the heroes correlated these qualities with their personal goals. Hence, they referred to these definitions to highlight the mistakes in the past and solve the problems in the future. Perhaps, this reflects participants’ aspiration and readiness for changes. In addition, it is also possible to assume that their figures were chosen from the past to find an example of how people could face challenges and how they could overcome them. However, further reflection suggested that all these traits were borrowed to help then understand how their personal problems could be solved.

While drawing the parallel between participants and their chosen individuals, much concern should be connected to the roles these participants perform in real life. In this respect, their actions are oriented on exploring the new dimensions and opportunities, but in different ways. Hence, two participants mentioned charismatic leaders because they believed that persistence and decision-making were the key qualities to achieve the results. In contrast, one participant deviated from this path to place an emphasis on novelty and creativity as the basis for success. This means that this person is inclined to make use of abstract thinking while making decisions in real life. Overall, the main thematic concerns of the individuals under analysis were confined to such issues as decision-making, goals achievement, problem solving, personal development, and career opportunities. All these categories can be encapsulated one broader topic, such as aspiration for self-development and professional growth.

Closer thematic analysis has revealed the number of interesting remarks about the words used while describing famous people. This is of particular concern to participants’ attempt to relate their personal achievements with the ones achieved by important historical figures. At this point, much attention should be paid to such words as “great”, “greatest”, “brilliant”, “significant”, and “successful”. These words are among the first one uttered by the interviewees. Therefore, it is possible to admit all the participants strived to achieve something great and significant in their life. Overall, the answers allow to provide a deep psychological analysis of interviewees about used words and phrases.

A careful thematic analysis has also revealed broader themes for discussion. In particular, much concern is specifically connected with the actual selection process of a famous historical figure. At this point, the time spent on choosing this figure is also important because it also identifies participants’ ability to make decisions and analyze their abilities and skills.

Report on the Data Collected from the Interviews

A qualitative data analysis requires a group assessment of participants’ responses. A comparative and discourse approach, therefore, is one of the most productive ways to define connotations of the answers and analyze which ideas are communicated in the speech (Creswell, 2007). More importantly, a multi-dimensional approach should be used to provide a complete evaluation of qualitative information (Patton, 2002). In this respect, using specific software can greatly contribute to retrieving as much thematic nodes as possible. According to Rabiee (2004), the main goal of interviews is to “to understand, and explain, the meanings, beliefs ad cultures that influence the feelings, attitudes, and behaviors of individuals” (p. 655). In this respect, the interview data under analysis reveals differences in attitudes to certain aspects of roles and responsibilities imposed on the participants.

While conducting the interview, the participants were asked questions separately so that no one buy interviewer and interviewee can hear the response. Therefore, it was possible to provide a more objective evaluation of the answers and define explicit thematic concerns. However, synergy and group interaction could have revealed some other important aspects, which could have influenced further discussion. For instance, listening to others participants can define whether the interviewees were affected by other’s opinions.

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While defining the correlation between the research question and the obtained results, it should be stressed that interview analysis provides sufficient basis for answering the core questions and building a persuasive hypothesis. While deliberating the most inspiring qualities among the participants, it is also necessary to define how participants evaluate their personal abilities and skills. In this respect, the fifth question of the interview does not present information about the historical figures, but about interviewees’ actual objectives in life.

While interpreting the obtained data, it is imperative to build a consistent analytical framework for delivering a complete picture of results. At this stage, interview analysis should be split into such phases as mapping, charting, and interpretation. In such a manner, it is possible to develop themes from the research questions and respondents’ narratives. Data processing, therefore, is consistent with common discussion generating data retrieval that has been further complemented into observational notes. This stage of familiarization has been carried out through multiple times for listening to the recorded information. Further, to define the thematic nodes, a list of common phrases has been written down to define the most frequently used words and word combinations. The process allowed categorizing information into meaningful thematic patterns. Classification of patterns was the last but not the least stage of information processing that contributes to setting priorities the most important issues discussed during the interview. It involved picking up the quotes from the answer to create newly development thematic nodes in the content of research. Hence, indexing and charting can be regarded as a powerful means of arranging data.

Aside from lexical filling of the interview, specific emphasis was placed on the analysis of sentence structure, as well as the response patterns used by the participants. At this stage, the focus of the discussion was made on the way the respondents identify their favorite personalities. In this respect, some have limited their answers to one sentence whereas others decide to make their statement more expanded. Viewing these matters from another retrospective is also an approach to define whether expanded replies contribute to qualifying a psychological portrait of an individual. For example, some can resort to formal sentences that do not preset any qualitative data whereas others are more inclined to put important information into one patterns. While using software-based analysis, significantly greater depth of thematic analysis was possible due to the multi-dimensional approach to processing data (Sinkovics & Penz, 2011). Introducing technological support opens greater opportunities for analyzing and synthesizing information, as well as drawing consistent and exhaustive conclusions about the researched information. More importantly, higher relevancy of gained results was ensured due to greater accuracy of data retrieval, as compared to manual tools for qualitative data analysis. Specifically, conceptual challenges were alleviated as far as the thematic nodes function was chosen.

In conclusion, the qualitative interview data analysis has revealed both practical and conceptual value of the research. First, the interview has uncovered common behavioral patterns of discussion, which is revealed through choosing qualities relating to such themes as leadership, management, and goals achievement. This defines all the participants as ambitious and self-determined individuals. Second, a thematic approach has discovered that all individuals are self-motivated, which is seen from the chosen personalities they refer while expressing their goals and objectives. Finally, sentence structure and mapping have also been useful in defining conceptual frameworks.

References

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Rabiee, F. (2004). Focus-group Interview and Data Analysis. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 63, 650-660.

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Sinkovics, R. R., & Penz, E. (2011). Multilingual elite-interviews and software-based analysis. International Journal Of Market Research, 53(5), 705-724.

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