How do I…

develop my IPA analysis and write it up?

Do you want to…?

Understand how to develop your analysis and write it up to a sufficient level of depth and quality

Feel confident around raising the level of your interpretations

Understand how much interpretative depth is enough for a good quality IPA analysis

Be able to to pinpoint a suitable structure for your final written narrative account of your findings

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Naturally, my recommendation for feeling more confident in this area of your research is to attend my Advanced IPA Data Analysis workshop

Fundamentally, the most comprehensive and in-depth input that I can provide at this point in your IPA research journey is via this workshop

My ultimate aim is to help you feel better equipped to produce the best analysis chapter that you can, doing justice to your participants and their accounts of their experience

This workshop includes a bucket load of practical guidance to help you develop a good quality written narrative account of your analysis, arguably the most crucial section of your thesis as it honours your participants’ accounts and all your hard work!

How do I get from my table of themes to a written account of my IPA analysis?

This question comes up time and time again, something that is corroborated by the popularity of my Advanced IPA Data Analysis workshop which takes a deep dive into this very area

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Do you feel lost and confused?

Students frequently report getting to the end of their ‘preliminary’ IPA analysis, only to find themselves lost and confused about how to translate this into a written chapter for their thesis

In my experience, this is entirely normal!

IPA takes an idiographic approach

Given the highly idiographic nature of IPA, the initial sweep of coding and analysis tends to be a long and arduous process: we must first systematically work through each case individually and on its own terms, doing our best to ultimately achieve a synthesised, analytic, good enough ‘structure’ for each, all the while remaining open to the new

But we must beware of resting on our laurels once we have reached the end of this phase of the analysis as we still need to go cross-case!

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The demands of IPA analysis should not be underestimated

The depth of the analytic process is a defining feature of IPA, and it means that analysis invariably takes longer than students anticipate and is often more demanding than expected

This is why we have small sample sizes in IPA…

Translating your preliminary IPA analysis into a written narrative account

Once done with the cross-case analysis, it is not uncommon for students to report feeling like they have simply produced a massive thematic analysis – this was certainly my experience for my professional doctorate!

The next struggle is to transform this into a coherent, written, narrative account that is ‘comprehensive, systematic and persuasive’ (Smith et al., 2009, p.109)

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Certain factors come into play when writing up your IPA findings

Exactly how you develop the written narrative account of your analysis and findings tends to be:

~ Largely organic
~ Hugely iterative
~ Data-dependent
~ Shrouded in mystery

Hence developing my Advanced IPA Data Analysis workshop to help you solve this very problem!

The main takeaways for generating the written, narrative account of your IPA analysis

Schedule enough space in your research timetable to devote to the task of developing your written account of your analysis 

Keep the momentum going and move immediately onto the task of writing up this section once you have performed your preliminary analysis

Remember that this phase of developing the written narrative account is often where much of the interpretative depth is achieved 

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A high-level overview of what you should be trying to achieve with this section of your IPA thesis

Attention to your overall structure as the way you present your analytic account could be considered a form of interpretation

~ Remember that it needs to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate for the reader

~ You absolutely do not want to alienate your examiner by presenting a confusing and impenetrable structure – it will not showcase your hard analytic work well!

Essential features of a high-quality IPA analytic account

A narrative account that can be read in two ways: for the common/shared themes AND individual accounts

Attention to both the convergences and divergences in the accounts and/or themes

A good level of commentary for your quotes that offers a balance between rich description and a higher level of interpretation that is firmly grounded in the data

Reference: Smith, J.A., Flowers, P., & Larkin, M. (2009) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method, Research. London: Sage

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Get support with developing your IPA data analysis


If you require high-quality supplemental support to help you feel more confident and better equipped to produce a high-quality written narrative account for your project write up, then I would love to take you by the hand and guide you through the process of developing your IPA analysis in my Advanced IPA Data Analysis workshop

This session is delivered in a small group setting where you can benefit from oodles of practical guidance and tips to help you maximise this crucial section of your thesis

Let me help you produce an analysis chapter to be proud of and one that honours your participants’ contribution, doing justice to their accounts

This workshop has been fully updated to reflect the new IPA terminology for the analytic process

I cannot see how anyone could not wax lyrical when it comes to your workshops – I’ve loved them!  Most of all though, your passion for IPA is infectious and I cannot help come away from the workshop feeling enthused, even after 4 hours online


Advanced IPA Data Analysis, September 2021

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Investigate articles that examine ways to develop your IPA analysis and write it up effectively, plus the answers to frequently asked questions in this area

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The information contained on this website and this webpage is provided for information and guidance purposes only and is based on Dr Elena GR’s experience in teaching, conducting, and supervising IPA research projects

The contents are intended for information and guidance purposes only and are not meant to replace or supersede your supervisory advice/guidance or institutional and programme requirements. It is not intended to be the sole source of information or guidance upon which you rely for your research study

You must obtain supervisory and institutional advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of my guidance and/or materials

Dr GR disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed upon any of the contents of my website or associated materials

Finally, please note that use of my materials does not guarantee any particular grade for your work