SurveyMonkey

Thematic Analysis

Early Access: Thematic Analysis is only available to some customers at this time. This feature is available in English only.

Thematic Analysis, powered by OpenAI, automatically groups text responses by key themes. Thematic Analysis allows you to:

  • Reduce time spent organizing data into meaningful categories
  • Understand the most common themes across your open-ended responses

Choose from a list of suggested themes or create your own. AI identifies keywords related to the theme name and response text so we can apply themes to your responses.

Thematic Analysis works with text responses, including Comment Box questions, text box questions, and “other” comment fields. 

Certain survey use cases are not permitted—for details, please see SurveyMonkey's Acceptable Uses Policy, as well as additional third party provider usage policies, and acceptable use and conduct policies.

Thematic Analysis isn’t available to HIPAA-enabled accounts, or those with an Enhanced Sensitive Data Protection account.

Thematic Analysis works for responses collected in English only.

When you turn on Thematic Analysis for a question, your data is processed in the following ways:

  • We suggest a list of themes based on your responses. To suggest these themes, our machine learning algorithm finds keywords in your responses. We then send those keywords to OpenAI to suggest themes.
  • When you generate keywords, SurveyMonkey sends the theme name to OpenAI. These services suggest keywords based on your theme name. 
  • When you begin auto tagging, our machine learning algorithm scans and tags any responses that match the keywords. 

Survey responses aren’t shared with OpenAI when using Thematic Analysis.

To turn on Thematic Analysis:

  1. Go to the Analyze Results section of your survey.
  2. Find a question with open text responses.
  3. Select the Thematic Analysis tab. 
  4. Select Create themes
  5. At the confirmation message, select Enable. We’ll open the Thematic Analysis page so you can get started.

Once you enable this feature, it will be enabled for the duration of the Early Access program.

Create or select themes to tag your responses with. You need to have at least 2 themes to start tagging responses. We recommend using between 5-15 themes.

To create and apply themes to your responses:

  1. Go to the Analyze Results section of your survey.
  2. Find a question with text responses.
  3. Select the Thematic Analysis tab.
  4. Select Create themes. On the new screen, select Create themes.
  5. Select 2 or more suggested themes. Or, enter a Theme name, then press Enter. 
  6. When you’re done adding themes, select Add themes.
  7. Select Next: Extract keywords. We’ll start identifying keywords for each of your themes. This can take up to 2 minutes.
  8. Review the suggested keywords for each theme. You can type new keywords and remove suggested ones to make sure they’re relevant to your themes.

When you’re ready to tag responses, select Start auto-tagging. Thematic Analysis tags any responses that match the keywords for your themes. This may take a few minutes.

To add more themes later, select New theme on the Thematic Analysis page. Then, you’ll be prompted to Update auto-tagging.

When creating themes:

  • Create themes that represent recurring topics in your responses. If many survey takers mention the cost of a product, you could create a theme called “price” to group those responses.
  • Make sure your theme relates to the content of your responses. Our machine learning algorithm analyzes the text of your responses to apply tags, so themes related to internal workflows or tasks, like “to do” or “follow up,” will return ambiguous or inaccurate results.

When reviewing keywords:

  • Don’t use the same keyword for multiple themes.
  • Use specific keywords that appear in your responses. For example, to tag responses about a specific mobile device, use that device’s name (like “iPhone” or “Android") as a keyword instead of “technology.”

When you collect new survey responses, you’ll be prompted to run auto-tagging again to apply themes. To run auto tagging again:

  1. In the Analyze Results section of your survey, find a question with text responses that you applied themes to.
  2. Go to the Thematic Analysis tab.
  3. Select Update auto-tagging. Follow the steps to update your auto-tagging.

You can delete any themes you’ve created. When you delete a theme, we remove it from any responses that have been tagged with that theme. 

To delete a theme:

  1. Go to the Analyze Results section of your survey.
  2. Find a question with text responses that you applied themes to.
  3. Go to the Thematic Analysis tab. Then select View themes and responses.
  4. Hover over the theme you want to delete, then select the three dots icon next to the theme.
  5. Select Delete. At the confirmation message, select Delete again.

The theme is removed from any responses it was applied to.

When we finish tagging, you’ll see a full list of responses with themes applied.

If you have Sentiment Analysis enabled, we’ll also show response sentiment in the Thematic Analysis page. You can filter responses on this page based on sentiment.

Use the dropdowns at the top of the Thematic Analysis page to filter and sort your responses. There are a few options:

  • Show all responses, tagged responses only, or untagged responses only
  • Sort from A to Z or by most recent responses
  • Search for a specific keyword

After we tag your responses, you can filter them by theme in the Thematic Analysis page. To filter by theme within a question:

  1. In the Analyze Results section of your survey, find a question with text responses that you applied themes to.
  2. Go to the Thematic Analysis tab. Then select View themes and responses.
  3. Check the boxes for the themes you want to display.

You can update a theme name and associated keywords at any time. If you edit the keywords, you’ll need to run the auto-tagging process again.

To change a theme’s name:

  1. In the Analyze Results section of your survey, find a question with text responses that you applied themes to.
  2. Go to the Thematic Analysis tab. Then select View themes and responses.
  3. In the left panel, hover over the theme you want to edit, then select the three dots icon.
  4. Select Edit.
  5. Update your theme’s name, then select Save.

To add, remove, or edit keywords:

  1. In the Analyze Results section of your survey, find a question with text responses that you applied themes to.
  2. Go to the Thematic Analysis tab. Then select View themes and responses.
  3. Select Edit keywords.
  4. Type new keywords in the box for your theme, separated by a comma. Or, remove keywords you don’t want.
  5. Select Update auto-tagging to apply the changes to your responses. Thematic Analysis tags responses that match your keywords. Thematic Analysis also removes the theme from responses it doesn’t match anymore.

You can manually tag responses with a theme at any time. To manually tag responses:

  1. Go to the Analyze Results section of your survey.
  2. Find a question with text responses that you applied themes to.
  3. Go to the Thematic Analysis tab. Then select View themes and responses.
  4. Find the response you want to tag.
  5. Select Add theme.
  6. Check the boxes for the themes you want to add. You can also search for themes.
  7. When you’re done choosing themes, scroll to the bottom of the panel and select Add theme.

Themes that were automatically applied to your responses have a lightning bolt icon. Manually applied themes don’t have a lightning bolt icon.

To remove a theme from a response:

  1. Find the response to remove themes from.
  2. Select the X on the theme name to remove it.

You can manually apply the theme to your response again later.

To export responses for your question:

  1. In the Analyze Results section of your survey, find a question with text responses that you applied themes to.
  2. Go to the Thematic Analysis tab. Then select View themes and responses
  3. Select Export. We’ll save the export to your device as a .zip file.  

The export includes the following data:

  • Respondent ID
  • Response date
  • Response text
  • Tags applied
  • Themes applied
  • Response sentiment (if you’ve enabled Sentiment Analysis)