Using Framework Analysis in nursing research: a worked example


Correspondence to D.J. Ward:




To demonstrate Framework Analysis using a worked example and to illustrate how criticisms of qualitative data analysis including issues of clarity and transparency can be addressed.


Critics of the analysis of qualitative data sometimes cite lack of clarity and transparency about analytical procedures; this can deter nurse researchers from undertaking qualitative studies. Framework Analysis is flexible, systematic, and rigorous, offering clarity, transparency, an audit trail, an option for theme-based and case-based analysis and for readily retrievable data. This paper offers further explanation of the process undertaken which is illustrated with a worked example.

Data source and research design

Data were collected from 31 nursing students in 2009 using semi-structured interviews.


The data collected are not reported directly here but used as a worked example for the five steps of Framework Analysis. Suggestions are provided to guide researchers through essential steps in undertaking Framework Analysis. The benefits and limitations of Framework Analysis are discussed.

Implications for nursing

Nurses increasingly use qualitative research methods and need to use an analysis approach that offers transparency and rigour which Framework Analysis can provide. Nurse researchers may find the detailed critique of Framework Analysis presented in this paper a useful resource when designing and conducting qualitative studies.


Qualitative data analysis presents challenges in relation to the volume and complexity of data obtained and the need to present an ‘audit trail’ for those using the research findings. Framework Analysis is an appropriate, rigorous and systematic method for undertaking qualitative analysis.