Qualitative analysis techniques for the review of the literature

Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Nancy L. Leech, Kathleen M.T. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

279 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we provide a framework for analyzing and interpreting sources that inform a literature review or, as it is more aptly called, a research synthesis. Specifically, using Leech and Onwuegbuzie's (2007, 2008) frameworks, we delineate how the following four major source types inform research syntheses: talk, observations, drawings/photographs/videos, and documents. We identify 17 qualitative data analysis techniques that are optimal for analyzing one or more of these source types. Further, we outline the role that the following five qualitative data analysis techniques can play in the research synthesis: constant comparison analysis, domain analysis, taxonomic analysis, componential analysis, and theme analysis. We contend that our framework represents a first step in an attempt to help literature reviewers analyze and interpret literature in an optimally rigorous way.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Report
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Componential analysis
  • Constant comparison analysis
  • Domain analysis
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Research synthesis
  • Review of the literature
  • Taxonomic analysis
  • Theme analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


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