Comparative Thematic Analysis: Evaluating the Placement Experiences of Health-Care Students in the United Kingdom


As three individuals employed within the same higher educational institution and in the same office, we have a close working relationship, and all are involved in the educational experience of students enrolled on health-care-related degree programs. These awards have different approaches to work experience that are advocated by the professional bodies accrediting the individual programs of study. Inevitably, we debated why these different approaches had been taken to work-based experience. Although we could find evidence to suggest that work-based experience was recommended while in higher education, we found little information concerning the students’ perspective surrounding their understanding of placement expectations or the employability skills that these placements hope to address. Our study aimed to explore students’ perspectives concerning their work-based placement and attempt to determine whether students perceived that one of these placement approaches was more beneficial. We provide a short account of some of our experiences during this research project, giving an overview of some of the issues we encountered during our research. We focus on areas which, as a small research group, we found most challenging. We emphasize the use of questionnaires, interviews, and the coding of the interview transcripts; how we individually used constant comparative analysis to elicit themes from the participants’ responses; and then how we, together, attempted to compare these themes across the different participant groups.

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