An introduction to concept mapping as a participatory public health research method

Qual Health Res. 2005 Dec;15(10):1392-410. doi: 10.1177/1049732305278876.


In this article, the authors introduce concept mapping as a useful participatory research method for public health researchers interested in generating hypotheses and developing theory. The authors first provide an overview of concept mapping, which combines qualitative approaches with quantitative analytical tools to produce visual displays of the relationship between ideas. Then, they present an illustrative research application of the method to the exploration of women's perceptions of the relationship between residential neighborhood factors and intimate partner violence experiences. They give attention to the data collection and analysis procedures and to demonstrating the intricacies of using concept mapping for public health research purposes. Finally, the article concludes with a discussion of the unique contributions and challenges associated with concept mapping.

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Concept Formation*
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Public Health*
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Design
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Spouse Abuse / classification
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*