Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into
Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions in
Yonghun LIM1, Farnaz NICKPOUR and Joseph GIACOMIN
Department of Design, Brunel University, United Kingdom
Abstract. The importance of psychosocial aspects has been gradually recognised in
the field of inclusive design. A critical review of existing literature, however, such
as design, healthcare, psychology, and sociology, on psychosocial aspects of
inclusivity identifies a two-fold research gap which is a limited understanding of
both definition and dimensions of psychosocial inclusivity in the field of inclusive
design. Such concept of psychosocial inclusivity is an inherently context-dependent
and multi-faceted concept. Accordingly, a ‘personal mobility’ was focused on in this
paper as one key context to explore psychosocial inclusivity to facilitate thorough
and in-depth study of this concept. In this study, therefore, the interviews with 37
mobility-challenged participants were performed, and then the interview data was
analysed by using a coding analyses to identify key psychosocial factors of inclusive
design based on participants’ lived-experiences.
Keywords. psychosocial inclusivity; inclusive design; accessibility; personal
mobility; transport; user interviews; coding analysis
Inclusive design aims to provide equal opportunities to as many people as possible
without the need for specialised design or adaptation. As such, the concept of inclusive
design has been recognised as a pertinent and powerful approach to design of mainstream
products, environments and services within the global socio-economic context of a
growing population of older adults and people with disabilities [1, 2].
However, it could be argued that the concept of inclusive design is yet to be
holistically explored and thoroughly applied; the conventional focus of design for
inclusion so far has been primarily on ‘physical’ aspects of inclusion: mainly
accessibility, functionality and usability . The existing policies and applications in the
developed countries for example, set up by policy makers and applied by designers, seem
to mainly consider improving the technology and infrastructure based on physical
aspects . This conventional imbalanced focus on physicality of the experience in
inclusive design studies has been seen to require additional enhancement and an
evaluation for better inclusivity [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. The need to explore and apply
inclusive design beyond physical is becoming ever more significant in a world where
concepts such as meaning-centred design , human-centred design [13, 14],
1 Corresponding Author, MCST 361, Michael Sterling Building, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UB8
3PH, United Kingdom; E-mail: email@example.com
Universal Design 2016: Learning from the Past, Designing for the Future
H. Petrie et al. (Eds.)
© 2016 The authors and IOS Press.
This article is published online with Open Access by IOS Press and distributed under the terms
of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0).
experience design [15, 16, 17], and emotional design  are gaining increasing
A critical review of existing literature on the non-physical aspects of inclusivity
identifies a two-fold research gap; a lack of both definition and dimensions of non-
physical inclusion in design [3, 4]. In this paper, these non-physical dimensions of
inclusion e.g. psychological and social aspects, are referred to as psychosocial aspects.
The concept of psychosocial inclusivity is an inherently multi-faceted and context-
dependent concept. Thus, in order to avoid generalisation and to facilitate in-depth and
rigorous study of this concept, this study focuses on ‘mobility’ as one key context for
investigating psychosocial inclusivity. Thus, the study focuses on a group of ‘mobility-
challenged’ participants defined as “someone whose mobility has been challenged due
to age, physical or mental impairment, or an external physical condition.” .
According to Department for Work and Pensions , 55 percent of the total
disabled population in the UK suffers from mobility problems (6.5 million). This is
compared to 2.1 million suffering from mental health, 1.7 million from hearing
impairment, 1.5 million from vision impairment and 0.8 million from social or
behavioural impairments. Such statistics further identify mobility as one of the most
significant and widespread cases of disability in the UK, and also highlight its strong
correlation with other types of impairments . A mobility impairment could cause
various physical and non-physical complications in both individual and social contexts,
and such issues are influenced by various determinants which are cognitive, psychosocial,
physical, environmental and financial  eventually resulting in various levels of
exclusion on a physical or non-physical level. Transport disadvantages, for example, give
rise to socio-economic exclusions such as limited economic and social opportunities to
households and individuals , which could also lead into further psychological
isolation. Building on the significance and scale of mobility-related disabilities, the
mobility-challenged group was selected as a potential case to further investigate and
identify psychosocial aspects of inclusive design.
Therefore, the aim of the study presented in this paper was established to explore
psychosocial aspects of inclusive design based on the context of personal mobility using
the following steps:
to identify the key of psychosocial inclusivity in the context of personal mobility
to develop the initial framework for psychosocial aspects in inclusive design using
the above identified factors
2. Data collection and analysis
2.1. Data collection method
The interview study was designed for users of the mobility scheme, which supports
people with mobility related disabilities to lease mobility equipment such as a powered
wheelchair, scooter or an adapted car. For the final selection of the interviewees, the
purposeful sampling approach, which is one of the common approaches for qualitative
research sampling [23, 24] was used. With this sampling approach, the 37 samples were
selected based on the appropriate mixture of age groups, genders and types of mobility
issues to cover various potential perspectives of psychosocial aspects in real world based
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions572
on their experiences. This selection of interviewees provided various perspectives
regarding their physical and psychosocial issues.
2.1.2. Questionnaire design
The interview was designed to ask about mobility scheme users’ physical and
psychosocial related issues in personal mobility to identify key psychosocial factors
based on their lived experiences. For this goal, the understanding of context, meaning
and needs, and possible future of personal mobility was needed. The questionnaire was
created based on mix of principal tools to understand these three criteria. These criteria
and the tools raise potential possibility of responses to cover various psychosocial aspects
(See table 1).
Table 1. Mix of principal tools for design of the questionnaire according to the three main purposes
Meaning and needs
- Ethnographic framework 
- 5Ws and H framework
- Semantic differential framework 
Back casting 
2.2. Data analysis method
Braun and Clarke  suggested the six phases of analysis, which are familiarization
oneself with one’s data; generating initial codes; searching for themes; reviewing themes;
defining and naming themes and producing the report (See appendix A). Following this
process, the interview data were collected and analysed by an independent researcher via
use of coding analysis. After this individual analysis, four other researchers participated
to analyse the interview data to verify the single coding analysis. This multiple coding
process enables an individual researcher to have multiple perspectives from other
researchers about the data .
2.2.1. Creating an initial structure for coding analysis
The ten interview transcripts were carefully selected from the whole selection of samples
and analysed as a familiarisation stage. The criteria for selecting ten interviewees were
age, gender and type of mobility circumstance such as adapted-car users, wheelchair
users and scooter users. These criteria represent and cover the 27 other interviewees, and
provide an appropriate initial analysis structure for the later stage. The initial coding
analysis was conducted in the following steps.
For the first step, key words and phrases were identified by process coding, which
is also called action coding . The process coding is an effective method to summarise
the interviewees’ transcripts as the first step of coding analysis . The key expressions
and terms from the raw data were summarised as themes which were retained in original
forms during this coding to avoid loss of any potential key data. In this stage, as many
themes as possible were created based on the meaning or implication in the responses.
This is because each element, which was identified from the interviews, could have
crucial psychosocial factors although some elements did not fit other themes or appeared
less often compared to others. Hence, a comprehensive coding structure for psychosocial
factors in personal mobility was created at the end of this stage.
The results from the above stage were reviewed and refined within Nvivo10, which
provides multiple combinational matrixes of identifies themes . The re-
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions 573
categorisations of the identified themes were tried several times to explore different
perspectives of the coding. The themes and categories were also renamed as occasions.
Hence, a refined coding structure was created from the above process.
The two rounds of workshops were conducted with four experienced researchers to
ensure rigour of the results from the previous analysis. At the first round, the four
researchers were given set of cards that each card contains key phrases or paragraphs
captured from the interviewees’ responses. The researchers reviewed each card carefully
and then categorised based on their own coding structure which means each researcher
could have subjective perspectives about the data.
The initial structures from each researcher were reviewed and synthesised through
the comparative analysis. There were several overlapping themes, such as social factors,
well-being, emotional, mental and equipment related factors, and some distinct themes.
All of these themes were combined and used to create a cards set for the second round.
The researchers re-categorised or renamed the cards based on their own coding structures.
For the final stage, the results from the individual researcher and the results from the
workshop were reviewed and synthesised through the comparative analysis. The most
common themes between those results were emotions, well-being, social factors,
equipment and economic related themes. Finally, a working structure for psychosocial
aspects in personal mobility was created. The working structure was used in the next
session to analyse the rest of interviews.
2.2.2. Analysis results for psychosocial aspects in personal mobility
Table 2. Analysis results from the interviews with 37 mobility-challenged people
Equipment (e.g. car,
framework, stick, scooter,
Public facilities (e.g.
building, park, parking
area, shopping centre)
Facilities at home
Appearance of equipment
Equal life opportunity
Support from surrounding
Other public service
The rest of the interview transcripts were reviewed and analysed by using the
working structure created in the previous section. Each transcript was coded line by line
using NVivo 10. Any terms and phrases which contain psychosocial related aspects were
categorised into the working structure. This analysis process is similar to the second step
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions574
of the previous section, and the main goal of this stage is to identify any new themes and
categories which were not identified in the previous section. After this process, the
analysis results for psychosocial aspects in personal mobility was created (See table 2).
There are also some examples of comments from the interviewees according to the
identified themes (See table 3).
Table 3. Comments from the interviews based on the identified main themes in working structure. As the
comments show, the main themes reflect the issues mobility-challenged people are facing in their life.
“Well my mobility obviously is very limited. I am a 65-year-old grandmother, wife
and mother obviously. I walk with a crutch because the disease I have is really
debilitating in my legs, muscle wasting and not […] My balance isn’t very good.”
“I think from the type of equipment that’s available I think we’ve got the best of that.
Some different types of equipment would be good, for example my daughter’s got an
indoor wheelchair and it would be great if the side support dropped down on it so I
could transfer her easier instead of having to lift her up and over it. But other than that
most of the equipment that we’ve got does what it says on the tin.”
“A car that has side access, a sliding door that you can get in from the side and probably
a boot that you can get to in the back so that can be separate to where you’re sitting if
you don’t need a wheelchair while you’re driving, that would be good.”
“[…] disabled parking spots are very limited wherever you go and you need the
additional space to get a disabled person in and out of a car and also to get a wheelchair
in and out of the vehicle. A lot of car parks have very very tight parking spots because
they try and get as many people in as they want”
“Ever since I’ve been able to drive I just love it. It’s one of those few times when I feel
I’m on a level playing field with everybody else because if I’m sat in my car on the
road, on the motorway or wherever, there’s no external indication that I have a
disability or anything. I’m just another road user.”
“I think finance can contribute quite a lot to mobility […] yes I would certainly say
that finance does contribute to mobility.”
“My cousin, her daughter does house cleaning. She comes up, she changes my bed and
does all my hoovering, and a bit of dusting. I can do a little bit of dusting, but I can't
put polish on it, I just do it with a feather duster. But she does all my polishing and
hoovering and that […]”
“I suppose you could be embarrassed about having to use equipment […] descriptive
words, embarrassed, conscious, you try to normalise its use and what would […] you’d
want it to be a bit more discreet, less obvious, less obtrusive”
“I’m too heavier than I should be and I think there is a natural tendency for people to
look at you and pass judgment perhaps if you’re too big or you’re young and you’re
in a chair or a scooter they think there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re taking the
“attitudes have changed a lot for the better. But it’s still not good. Disabled people are
still very much seen as not second class but maybe we don’t really know what to do”
3.1. Developed framework for psychosocial aspects in inclusive design
The analysis results for psychosocial aspects in personal mobility was proposed in the
previous section. The results show the key psychosocial factors in connection with
personal mobility, but these factors only cover the personal mobility related aspects.
Furthermore, according to the initial framework for psychosocial aspects in inclusive
design based on the literature analysis, which has done by Lim and Nickpour , it was
clear that there are various psychosocial factors that are not identified in the interviews.
In this literature analysis, the existing psychosocial aspects and its related models and
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions 575
frameworks in various study areas, such as psychology; sociology; health care; and
design, were collected and analysed.
With this in mind, a comparative analysis between the analysis results from the
interviews and the initial framework for psychosocial aspects in inclusive design created
from the literature analysis were conducted to develop the framework. There were
several overlapping themes and distinct themes and they were carefully reviewed and re-
categorised by meaning. Based on the results from this comparative analysis, seven
psychosocial factors were identified and developed in the framework (See Figure 1). The
seven factors are illustrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Synthesised framework for psychosocial aspects in inclusive design
From the results of the interviews and the literature analysis, it was clear that people face
various psychosocial issues based on their personal background which includes physical
capability (age, gender, functional abilities, sense of control, health condition and
mobility), behaviour, level of education (skilfulness and knowledge), state of
employment and competence (social functioning, expertise, problem solving, ability to
participate in multiple social roles and experience). There are interrelationships between
the individual characteristics and the rest of the elements in the framework. For example,
the psychological or social issues several interviewees faced in their experiences were
based on their own physical conditions. Therefore, individual characteristics could be
important initial factors of psychosocial inclusion, and the knowledge if these factors can
be used to identify the potential stakeholders and issues in inclusive design.
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions576
Usability and Accessibility
Usability and accessibility are essential factors in the concepts of inclusive design.
Various usability and accessibility related factors were identified in the literature and
interviews. There are various existing concepts of inclusive design, such as frameworks,
principles and toolkits, which mainly focus on physical aspects including usability and
accessibility related factors. The aim of this paper is to identify psychosocial aspects of
inclusive design, but the identified psychosocial factors in literature and the interview
have strong relationship with the factors of usability and accessibility. The key identified
factors are adaptability, capacity, diversity, efficiency, durability, functionality, and
Main factors in this session are financial state and financial barriers. Various
interviewees pointed out that their mobility and social lives are limited if they have any
financial barriers. For example, assistive devices such as mobility equipment are
prohibitively expensive, and it is difficult for people who need the equipment to afford
it without a stable financial state. Also, people who have financial barriers seem be
intimidated in their social relationships and activities according to the both the results of
the literature and interviews. Some of them prefer to stay home and not have social
There were various factors that are related to psychological factors in both results of the
interviews and the literature analysis. The term psychological is defined as “Of, affecting,
or arising in the mind; related to the mental and emotional state of a person” by Oxford
dictionary. With this definition, the psychological related themes were categorised into
two themes which are emotional and mental factors. In the emotional factors of the
framework, negative emotion (distress, anxiety, fear, loneliness, boredom, hopelessness,
embarrassment, feelings of sadness, depression, frustration, decreased psychological
distress, self-esteem, and distress) and positive emotion (comfort, confidence, calming,
satisfaction, thrill, enjoyment, and desires) were identified. It was clear from the
literature that these emotional factors are by individuals’ physical health condition and
also social relationships.
The mental and human thought related factors were categorised in this session. The
identified factors, which are stress (time pressure, trauma, chronic stress, perceived stress,
and loss of control), cognitive (optimism, locus of control, confusion, health beliefs,
information, predictability, empowerment, and misconception) and perception (self-
consciousness, and reliance), mostly have strong relationships with social factors. There
were various literatures that identify the mental issues in communities such as working
environments, class rooms and social groups. People are mentally suffered by the
relationship between other community members. Some of the interviewees mentioned
the perceived mental related factors in their experiences such as self-consciousness and
level of dependence.
Social factors in this framework are essentially based on social interaction with others.
Identified factors are social awareness (public attitude, public judgment, and
discrimination), social impact (physical environment, social integration, and social
changes), social relationship (social participation, social exclusion, social network,
community efficacy, and corporate culture), and support and service (family support,
social service and support, and financial support). These factors are highly related to
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions 577
individual characteristics and psychological including emotional and mental factors. In
the interview, many interviewees described their own experiences of their mobility
sometimes being limited by these social factors. With these social influences, it is clear
that people are not only disabled by their impairment, but they are also disabled by their
own society .
In this section, the factors that are based on people’ experiences and desire were
categorised. The identified ideological factors from the literature and the interviews are
values, subjective well-being and social well-being. The values refer to equal life
opportunities, freedom, safety, security, independence, privacy, long-term health, and
meaningfulness. In literature, subjective well-being is defined as “a person’s cognitive
and affective evaluations of his or her life” , and it refers that people feel happiness
and life satisfaction based on their own experiences. With this in mind, the subjective
well-being in this framework contains happiness, self-esteem, self-efficacy, fulfilment of
emotional demands, sense of hope, pleasure, and self-confidence. The social well-being
refers to social acceptance social satisfaction, receiving emotional support, and social
engagement. Ideological factors in this framework help people to have a better quality
of life based on rest of factors of the framework.
3.2. Verification of the coding analysis
In qualitative research, a validation and verification of data analysis results are the one
of the main consideration for researchers . In this paper, the coding of the results
from the interviews was used to develop the initial framework in the literature analysis.
For these results, the method of thematic analysis was used several times. The coding
analysis is a common and flexible method for analysing data in general qualitative
research, so it is difficult for researchers to contain objective points of view due to a
researcher’s subjective mental model and analysing structure [29, 33, 34, 35]. With this
in mind, the process of the interview data analysis was conducted by using multiple steps
of coding analysis by the individual researcher and the multiple researchers to refine and
verify the results. After the coding analysis, the analysed results were also carefully
review step by step based on the thematic analysis checklist introduced by Braun and
Clarke  (See appendix B) for provision of comprehensive and thorough validation.
4. Conclusion and future works
As previously mentioned in the introduction, the literature confirms an understanding of
psychosocial aspects, including a clear definition and framework, is necessary for the
future of inclusive design. With this, the importance of psychosocial factors in personal
mobility and the developed framework for psychosocial inclusion for the personal
mobility was identified in this paper. However, the framework has not yet been
thoroughly proven and verified due to limited scopes of the literature and the context of
mobility. The results provided only the existing psychosocial factors of literature and
perspectives of mobility-challenged people as parts of psychosocial inclusion. It is
difficult to cover all psychosocial situations and stakeholders of psychosocial inclusion
with these studies.
Therefore, further interview and observation studies with older adults will be
conducted as the next step to develop the proposed working framework for psychosocial
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions578
inclusivity. These further studies will be focused on elderly supermarket shoppers’
experiences to identify any psychosocial aspects in their shopping experiences. The
shopping is one of the significant life tasks that seems to have crucial and potential
psychosocial aspects of senior citizens’ daily life based on their lived-experiences. After
these further field studies, the working framework will be verified and validated by
evaluation study. Finally, a comprehensive framework for psychosocial aspects in the
field of inclusive design will be proposed. Also, the framework will be an important
checklist for potential users such as designers, researchers, and policy makers to consider
the psychosocial aspects of inclusive design in their fields.
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Table 4 “Six phases of thematic analysis” 
Description of the process
with your data:
Transcribing data (if necessary), reading and re-reading the data, noting down
Coding interesting features of the data in a systematic fashion across the entire
data set, collating data relevant to each code.
Searching for themes:
Collating codes into potential themes, gathering all data relevant to each potential
Checking if the themes work in relation to the coded extracts (Level 1) and the
entire data set (Level 2), generating a thematic ‘map’ of the analysis.
Defining and naming
Ongoing analysis to refine the specifics of each theme, and the overall story the
analysis tells, generating clear definitions and names for each theme.
Producing the report:
The final opportunity for analysis. Selection of vivid, compelling extract
examples, final analysis of selected extracts, relating back of the analysis to the
research question and literature, producing a scholarly report of the analysis.
Table 5 “A 15 point checklist of criteria for good thematic analysis” 
No. / Criteria
1. The data have been transcribed to an appropriate level of detail, and the transcripts
have been checked against the tapes for ‘accuracy’.
2. Each data item has been given equal attention in the coding process.
3. Themes have not been generated from a few vivid examples (an anecdotal approach),
but instead the coding process has been thorough, inclusive and comprehensive.
4. All relevant extracts for all each theme have been collated.
5. Themes have been checked against each other and back to the original data set.
6. Themes are internally coherent, consistent, and distinctive.
7. Data have been analysed -/interpreted, made sense of -/rather than just paraphrased or
8. Analysis and data match each other -/ the extracts illustrate the analytic claims.
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions580
9. Analysis tells a convincing and well-organized story about the data and topic.
10. A good balance between analytic narrative and illustrative extracts is provided.
11. Enough time has been allocated to complete all phases of the analysis adequately,
without rushing a phase or giving it a once - over - lightly.
12. The assumptions about, and specific approach to, thematic analysis are clearly
13. There is a good fit between what you claim you do, and what you show you have
done -/ie, described method and reported analysis are consistent.
14. The language and concepts used in the report are consistent with the epistemological
position of the analysis.
15. The researcher is positioned as active in the research process; themes do not just
Y. Lim et al. / Beyond Accessible Mobility: Insights into Psychosocial Inclusivity Dimensions 581