Thematic analysis and its reconceptualization as 'saliency analysis'

J Health Serv Res Policy. 2010 Apr;15(2):123-5. doi: 10.1258/jhsrp.2009.009081. Epub 2009 Sep 17.


Thematic analysis is characteristic of most qualitative research. Themes are groups of codes that recur through being similar or connected to each other in a patterned way. Thematic analysis ignores codes that do not recur yet may nonetheless be important. This paper proposes the concept of 'saliency analysis' as an enhancement of thematic analysis. Saliency analysis assesses the degree to which each code recurs, is highly important or both. Codes of high importance are ones that advance understanding or are useful in addressing real world problems, or both. Thus saliency analysis can expose what is non-recurrent but potentially important to the aims of a study.

MeSH terms

  • Qualitative Research*
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*