Analysing one dataset with two qualitative methods: the distress of general practitioners, a thematic and interpretative phenomenological analysis

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  • University of Bristol


General practitioners (GPs) in the United Kingdom are vulnerable to poor mental health. We conducted a qualitative study aiming to uncover barriers to help-seeking for this group. Forty-seven GPs were interviewed about depression, anxiety, stress, and/or burnout. Transcripts contained data of pragmatic and existential interest. We wished to explore data for breadth and depth, giving due recognition to participants’ complex accounts. Therefore, we conducted a dual analysis of the dataset, applying thematic analysis to transcripts from the full sample and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to a subsample: GP partners with more than 10 years’ experience. This article makes transparent our analytic process and compares findings from the two methods, which complemented one another to produce a multi-layered understanding of the phenomena. The methods demonstrated breadth versus depth, explicit versus hermeneutic interpretation, and pragmatic versus existential. We conclude that pairing thematic analysis and IPA is useful for analytic pluralism.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276–290
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date29 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • analytical pluralism, general practice, interpretative phenomenological analysis, mental health, thematic analysis