Thematic Analysis

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Thematic Analysis of an Interview Concerning Participation in an HIV Vaccine Trial According to Bruan & Clarke Victoria (2006), “Thematic Analysis involves searching across a data set- be that a number of interviews or focus groups, or a range of texts to find repeated patterns of meaning.” As part of a study designed to assess the preparedness of a community to participate in an HIV vaccine trial, an interview was transcribed with a member of an organisation known as Love Life. The interviewer attempted to gauge the respondent’s views on the vaccine, his willingness to participate, and the reasons behind them. They also discussed the perceptions and attitudes of those in the community and what he thought the response of his friends and family may be to his decision to participate.

Through this interview, various facets of the respondent’s personality and attitudes were revealed. He has great pride in the work of the organisation and his respect for one of the “groundbreakers” in that organization was clear. The organization seems to focus on reducing the incidence of and breaking down prejudices associated with HIV/AIDS through education. This base of knowledge appears to have empowered the respondent and he seems to relish the idea of being a hero. His determination and self-reliance also enable him to disregard the concerns of his family and friends in light of what he considers his purpose. Nor does he put much emphasis on the attitudes present in the community where he lives, which he believes are grounded in ignorance. Despite the emphasis he places on knowledge, he is keen to participate regardless of the potential dangers and limitations of the proposed vaccine. His desire to help others and to be portrayed as a hero appears to be his primary motivation. Authority of Organisation

Most of the respondent’s statements indicate that he has great respect for the organization he is involved in and prides himself in being involved in their work. He also places a lot of confidence in things heard from the organization, especially Thami, who he mentions repeatedly throughout the interview. This respect for Thami borders on idealization. The way we have learned here at Love Life….

I heard this from one of our groundbreakers – “Thami.” Thami (one of the groundbreakers) has a show that he does at our studio… He asked people around the township if the use of this vaccine was to be tried in South Africa. A lot of people expressed willingness to try the vaccine… Thami always explains things and he is the person who knew a lot about it and he explained to the people before he talked about it.

Knowledge as power
The organization also acts as source of learning and knowledge. Above he emphasises the fact that Thami explains and teaches people about HIV. The respondent has a great deal of respect for Thami based on his knowledge and ability to influence perceptions. The respondent puts a large amount of faith in knowledge being able to affect change. When asked about what might make people hesitant about participating in an HIV vaccine trial, he states: I think informing people about and making sure that they know how this works. If people do not know how this works then they won’t feel comfortable involving themselves with something they know nothing about. He proceeds to advocate setting up workshops and passing the message along, something that he will be capable of doing as a member of the organization. Throughout the interview he appears keen to show his knowledge often using the phrase “I understand.” Despite appearing not highly knowledgeable about vaccinations in general at the beginning of the interview, he portrays himself as a very willing participant. He does not ask many questions about the vaccination aside from his statement: “They use AIDS?” in response to the interviewer informing him that the vaccine would contain a part of the virus. The respondent appears quite surprised initially despite...
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