Respondent group

Units of meaning
(What is said)

Units of significance
(What is speaked about)

Themes

Molecular biologist
employed at the
university (MBU, Q1)5

“… you must inform them of their options and then
respect their decision.”

Inform patients and respect their decision

Respect for autonomy / Informed
consent
• Information
• Respect decision

Molecular biologist
employed in a private
biopharmaceutical company
(MBP, Q2)6

“… if you were a seriously ill or terminally ill patient,
I think I would accept just about any treatment,
because you would accept the risk involved.”

Very sick patients are constrained by the
circumstances to a certain choice

Respect for autonomy / Informed
consent
• External constraints
• Vulnerability
• Fragility

Oncology physician working
in the clinic (OPC, Q3)7

“… try to determine what is wrong with the patient,
what are our options, what are the patient’s
wishes, ideas, and then we have to reach some
kind of mutual understanding, frame of reference,
and take it from there … and how can we deal with
this in respect of that.”

Medical prognosis evaluation
Risk-benefit analysis
Patient’s wishes and ideas
Mutual understanding
Respect

Medical prognosis evaluation
• Risk-benefit analysis  

Respect for autonomy / Informed
consent
• Patient’s wishes and ideas
• Mutual understanding
• Respect

Oncology physician working
in the clinic (OPC, Q4)

“… patients are very different and you must adjust
to their level as best you can and try to find out
what kind of language to speak and to sense if
they have understood what you have told them,
and maybe repeat it…”

Positive obligation to adjust to the level of
the patient
Information
Understanding

Respect for autonomy / Informed
consent
• Disclosing information
• Probing for understanding

5(MBU, Q1): Molecular biologist employed at a public university, quotation 1.
6(MBP, Q2): Molecular biologist employed in a private biopharmaceutical company, quotation 2.
7(OPC, Q3): Oncology physician working in the clinic at a public hospital, quotation 3.
Table 4: Example of structural analysis - the movement from what is said to what is speaked about, first by describing units of meaning (what is said) and next by
formulating units of significance (what is talked about) and themes. This specific example of structural analysis is taken from the Danish empirical study for which the
method was developed [7].