A critique (literature) and qualitative analysis of data require a thematic analysis type of essay. In both the fields, you look for, spot the frequency of a recurring theme or data, and analyze it. Your familiarity with the piece of literature or firsthand involvement with the qualitative data is of prime importance. Themes in literature are not explicitly stated; rather you have to find them around repeated objects, symbols, and circumstances. To write the (elusively) perfect thematic analysis essay.
- If writing a thematic analysis of a book or other piece of literature, you need to read the book deeply and intellectually. Critically analyze everything you encounter in the book.
- Make copious notes. This is the single most important thing to do. Themes in a book, work through textual implication. You will need to note down the text as it appears in relevance to the theme. Use all means of marking important passages. Highlight, underline, or stick post-it notes as reminders to important passages and sentences.
- In both literature and data, analysis you will notice that there is not one but many themes you can choose to analyze. Identify the one you want to work on. Your chosen theme can be the central one, or an obscure side-theme. A theme is a “universal” truth that the author builds his story around. For example, Pride hath a fall, what goes around comes around etc.
- Make an outline starting with your view of the theme and its importance in the literary work. Summarize your thoughts and arguments. Note your argument and main points about the theme.
- In your outline, note down the various images, dialogue etc. where this theme occurs. You will need direct quotes from the story to support your points.
- Write why and how the use of this theme affects the story or poem. You can talk about the effects on mood, tone, feeling, etc.
- Write your essay by elaborating on the strong outline you have built. Write an introductory paragraph containing the name of the book/novel/story etc. that you are analyzing, the name of the author, date of publication, and the essence of your analysis.
- Now outline the conclusion. Write a short summary of the essay and link it with your analysis. Suggest future reading and topics for analysis related to it.