Portfolio – Component 2: Thematic analysis

From the portfolio brief:

You will be asked to conduct a thematic analysis on a short piece of text. You should write up one of the themes you find and include it in your portfolio. It should be no more than 500 words, including any extracts you use to illustrate your theme.

This component is worth 15% of your overall marks for the portfolio

Below you will find extracts from 4 interviews about becoming a father. You should code this data and develop themes. You should then write up one of the themes you find and include it in your portfolio. You should also include your coded data in your appendices.

Key points

Coding your data

  • You should engage thoroughly the process of coding your data.
  • You will not be marked on how ‘good’ your codes are, as this is somewhat subjective.
  • You may be marked down as having incomplete appendices if you have not shown a clear attempt to code the data. For example, only coding 1 or 2 of the interviews will be considered as an incomplete appendix,  as well leaving 1 of the interviews uncoded; this will impact upon your mark
  • You can choose to code the data by hand and submit a scanned copy. For those who wish to do it in Word, there is a copy of the data below, and a separate document with it in table format.

Writing up the theme

  • You do not have to report what all of your themes were; you should simply write up one of the themes you find
  • If you theme also has sub-themes, you can report those so long as you can do so within 500 words
  • You can choose to use extracts either analytically or illustratively
  • When reading thematic analysis papers you may find that they sometimes refer to literature in the analysis. You can do this if you wish, but there is no requirement to do so and no marking criteria associated with it.
  • Including extracts without any narrative/analytic content at all is not considered to be good thematic analysis, and this will impact upon your mark
  • At the end of each extract, put which interview it came from in brackets

Word count

  • Extracts from the data do count towards your word count
  • The title of your theme does not count towards your word count; nor do sub-theme titles

Interview 1

I:             So what sort of things do you enjoy doing with your son. What do you enjoy about fatherhood?

P3:          It is the stupid things like sort of walking out with the pram on a nice day, and the cockerel strut and ‘I am a dad’, puffing out your feathers and strolling along, it is nice. Apart from the obvious you have got a fulfillment in life and like I say it is like on the level where you are actually enjoying being responsible. I know it sounds daft but I do enjoy being responsible in sort of things that I have done, like opening bank and building society accounts and whatever. Gone out independently and go out on various times and bought him clothes and things like that. And it is just nice to sort of feeling as if you have been accepted into the adult world; I know you don’t obviously need a child. But there seems to be a sort of a knowing look from other parents as if to say “well done” or a nice child whatever.

I:             So you feel differently yourself?

P3:          Yes even to feeling guilty when I went out for the day on Saturday, just on my own. I did the usual are you going to be all right and this that and the other. No sooner had I got on the train I felt guilty that, although Sarah had said she was fine and the little one was fast asleep and everything. I sort of felt quite guilty that I was not being there just in case of whatever. So it is just a question of getting used to it really, striking a balance. Yeah I am really enjoying it.

I:             So can you describe in words what being a father feels like?

P3:          Um

I:             When do you feel like a father what sort of activities do you do? Or do you feel like a father all of the time?

P3:          Yeah, it’s not something that you can put into a sentence, it is just a feeling it is a sort of a father feeling . Most of it is sort of in the privacy of your own home when there is just the two of you and the little baby. You are just enjoying the time with them, um no I can’t put it into words, it is just a feeling that you have. And knowing that that every time you see an outfit that no longer fits them, which a few weeks beforehand you thought Christ he is never going into this. It is just the realisation that you have got a child and he is really growing up. And you are really looking forward to the sort of three, six months onwards when they really start to develop a personality. And they start talking and walking around and that’s when your troubles really begin.

Interview 2

I:             So what involvement do you think you have with your daughter on a daily basis?

P12:       Oh I just do odds and ends really you know, I occasionally um take her if Patricia has got to go to the loo or do something else. Occasionally feed her, rock her a bit you know and try and keep her entertained for a little bit. I don’t spend a lot of time actually tending to her needs, probably less than an hour a day.

I:             Is that something that you are happy with?

P12:       Yes I am really yeah.

I:             When you do spend the hour a day is it something you enjoy, or is it something that you are relieving someone else?

P12:       Not really I mean I like to just sort of see her you know and see that she is okay, but I haven’t got a great need to sort of hold her and do things with her really. Not really so I just do it because it has got to be done really.

I:             In terms of being with her is there anything that you do enjoy doing with her? Any activities that

P12:       Well she doesn’t do, you know she has only just got to the stage where she will kind of smile at you occasionally. And you don’t really know then if it is a real smile or whether she is making a funny facial expression because she is doing something else you know, because that’s quite common. Um you know she does very little really other than you know the crying, the feeding ,have her nappy changed, sleeping um there is not a lot really to interact with. Occasionally when she is calm you know you can talk to her a little. But you know all you get really is the occasional smile.

I:             And do you enjoy that?

P12:       Oh yes yeah it is nice to see her smile, because we think she is quite a nice looking baby and she looks quite nice when she smiles. Yeah I mean it is nice to see her smiling.

I:             Do you think that you feel differently in your self as a father? You don’t feel any different?

P12:       No not really no, I just feel other than feeling a bit more sort of burdened you know with what is going on and what’s to come, and the fact that we are not really moving on but apart from that no.

I:             So can you describe how you see that burden, or what burden that you feel?

P12:       Well it is just what I have said before really you know, um that I don’t feel that because Patricia is not working as much so she is not obviously earning as much as she was. Um we have not progressed as certainly as quickly as we might have done and possibly not much at all until something dramatic happens like um, which could be decades down the line you know like getting an inheritance or something. You know which probably does happen with a lot of people and then they suddenly move on to do something. But I mean you don’t know what is going to happen in the future, it might never happen, I might die before then who knows.

Interview 3

I:             I mean, in terms of the changes that have happened to you since you became a father, what do you think you’re enjoying most of all at the moment.

P21:       Now I’m getting some payback, when she smiles and things like that, because at first it’s just like a little machine, you’re petrified a bit, and all you do is feed it and clean up after it, but, again, I expected that so it’s not something that’s come as a shock but now at least you’re getting some things back. Erm, so yeah, it’s better now than it was, but it was pretty unfair for the last few weeks. I mean everybody tells you it’s going to be hard work so you do expect it and there are times when you think, you know, “I can’t handle this”, but you just, I don’t know, you just put up with it, and, I think we’ve been reasonably lucky at night, I don’t think we’ve had a particularly naughty one, I mean she might change but she’s a fairly easy going baby, she seems fairly laid back and she, you get to the point where you know, I know that normally when I come home at six o’clock she’ll be crying because that’s her little time that she seems to cry, and she’ll cry all through tea and she’ll stop as you bath her and she’ll be all right then and when you put her to bed she’s quite quiet, and after a couple of hours she’ll have a grizzle, so you work round things like that. But before, for the first couple of weeks, you thought “Oh, what ever’s wrong?”, so you just get to know what you shouldn’t be doing and what you should be doing and you get used to stuff and I know that, not, I mean, the first couple of nights, you’d lying there in bed and hear a whimpering and be up like a shot and be in there quickly to see if she’s still breathing, but now you’ll open one eye and think “Oh, thank heaven she’ll go back to sleep”, listen out for her and she’ll drop off, and so ((inaudible)), it’s just getting used to it, erm, but it takes time.

I:             Do you feel different yourself as a father, do you think?

P21:       Erm (4), yeah, a bit I suppose. (sigh) I feel a bit more harassed I suppose because you think “Well other people, more people are relying on me now” but apart from that, erm, that’s the main thing, and again this thing about putting other people always first now, and that’s going to be like that for the next twenty or thirty years anyway, so, erm, but they’re the main things.

I:             So what were you like before, in terms

P21:       I wouldn’t say I was selfish, but, I mean, since you’ve been married obviously you think as a couple, but now that couple is thinking about one person first rather than them, so that’s the main difference. I think we had, I won’t say we were out every night, but we had a fairly good social life and we knew that would change and it has, but its not been difficult, it’s just different, so, erm, you know, you just, and the two of you are just running around looking after one little baby, that’s the oddest thing, and it takes two of you to keep up with her at times, so

I:             Can you, do you think it’s easy to describe what being a father feels like?

P21:       Erm, (4) difficult, if not impossible. I don’t know, for me it’s a nice feeling, I don’t know, I don’t know how it’s a nice feeling, again, when you do things and you get a response it’s a nice feeling and all that sort of thing, but I suppose it’s a little early to tell as well. But, yes, it’s a nice feeling, I couldn’t describe it I don’t think, erm, but yeah, it’s nice.

Interview 4

I:             So so far has it been what you hoped for?

P38:       I had no idea what to expect really. It certainly, I think we’ve been very lucky so far she’s such a well behaved baby, she very rarely cries, she only cries if she wants food which is fair enough (amusement) pretty sure I would. She, you know as I say she’s smiling a lot, she happily sits in other people’s arms, just absolutely had no problems with her whatsoever. I think we’re just really lucky at the moment. I keep on saying “at the moment” (amusement) it’s all going to go wrong at some point. I think when I was a baby my mum said I was good for three months and then it sort of went downhill

I:             So in a couple of weeks it might be a different story

P38:       Yeah exactly, come back and interview me then

I:             Any kind of difficult things? What’s been the worst bit, or has there been anything?

P38:       I mean (sigh) a few instances in the early days, well one recently as well, just trying different feeding regimes or um we tried last week to try and give her formula, she just cried her eyes out for hours and Heather wasn’t in at that particular point in time. It turned out not to be a problem but she was screaming her head off to start with and when I stopped trying to give her formula she was “no I’m fine now”. So yeah I guess we’ve tried, we’ve tried to get her into a routine; this is her bedtime, this is when we’re gonna feed her and do that, so we’ve tried to change that a bit as we went along, I guess just to test the boundaries. So she used to feed, I guess in the first few weeks or month she used to feed at maybe half two at night and then be waking maybe five or six in the morning as well. So it was trying to drop one of those ones, the half two one, give it a go and then she’ll go, cry maybe and then next time she’ll be fine. So it’s just trying out loads of different things, neither of us had really had much knowledge of babies so it’s just trial and error, which I’m actually pretty comfortable with anyway so I wouldn’t say it’s stressed me at all

I:             Okay. So what about the best bits so far, what would you say they’ve been?

P38:       It’s gotta be the smiling and the giggling. It’s, particularly in the morning when we wake her up she’s really smiling and happy and the interaction’s really good. You sit there for ages just laughing at her and smiling at her and she laughs and smiles back, that’s by far the best part of it

I:             So I mean this is probably, well it might be quite difficult to describe but what does being a father feel like now?

P38:       (amusement) I don’t know how you’d put that sort of thing into words. I just feel (2) um I guess proud when you’re taking her out and about ‘cause she gets such a good reaction from everyone when they see her, so that’s a definitely positive reaction. (2) She’s just like maybe another little human being in the house really, I dunno how to describe it really. I enjoy chatting with her, chatting’s a grand term (amusement) enjoy making noises with her, smiling and playing. It’s really not the, I suppose the deep feelings are very difficult to describe, it’s just kind of the outward things that you do and feel are easy to describe. Happy and proud really