Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

Thematic analysis of meaningful moments in life

Supplementary info:

Type of assignment: MA
Internal– or external: Internal
How many students possible: 1
New data collection: No
Type of research: Thematic analysis
EC: 10 EC



Narrative psychology is an approach in psychology, focused on how people give meaning to their lives and construct their identities through stories. This approach also resulted in therapeutic and counselling approaches, most notably Epston and White’s narrative therapy, but also life review interventions for older people and people with dementia. More recently, other brief interventions have been developed.

Your MSC assignment will contribute to the development of the Life in One Question intervention. This intervention invites people to reflect on meaningful moments in their life in answer to one question, derived from the Japanese movie Afterlife: What if, there is an afterlife. There, all your memories will be erased, except for one. Which memory would you chose to take to eternity?

As part of a recent project, participants have described their chosen memory online and have answered several questions about the meaning they derive from this moment. In this MSc assignment, you will perform a qualitative analysis on these data:

·       First, you will categorize the chosen memories according to their textual properties, based on a previous typology of these memories

·       Next, you will qualitatively analyze (1) which meaning people derive from the chosen memory and (2) how this meaning emerges in the course of the participant’s life. In this process, you will use both open coding as well as predefined, meaning-related coding categories

·       Finally, based on these results, you will give suggestions to improve the Life in One Question intervention.


Who are we looking for?: 

We are looking for a motivated student, who is interested in the topic of the study: meaning in life.


What do we offer?:

Working with Jacky van de Goor, who is an experienced trainer, coach and author focused on meaning in life and meaning in work, who as a PhD researcher at the Storylab investigates the Life in One Question project. For more information on her practice see

For more information on the project, see or view the TEDx talk on the project,

Publications on the project: 

·       van de Goor, J., Sools, A. M., Westerhof, G. J., & Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2017). Wonderful Life: Exploring Wonder in Meaningful Moments. Journal of humanistic psychology, 0022167817696837.

·       van de Goor, J., Sools, A. M., & Westerhof, G. J. (2018). Unraveling the wonder of the ordinary: a narrative analysis of meaning construction in familiar routines. Journal of Constructivist psychology, 1-18 DOI: 10.1080/10720537.2018.1499158



Anneke Sools

Jacky van de Goor