The concept mapping method. An alternative to focus group inquiry in general practice

Aust Fam Physician. 1999 Jan:28 Suppl 1:S35-40.


Background: The concept mapping rationale and process are explained step by step. The concept mapping method produces a two dimensional conceptual map of ideas produced by the group which can be analysed at the level of individual statements, clusters of statements, and groups of similar clusters. An example of concept mapping conducted with four general practitioner (GP) groups from different practice types and demographic locations is provided. A total of 51 participating GPs were asked to complete an 'evaluation questionnaire' at the end of each group session. The majority of GP participants (68%) rated the method as highly useful.

Objective: To describe the concept mapping method and its interpretation for use in general practice research. To report on its perceived usefulness and acceptability by general practitioners.

Discussion: Concept mapping is a very useful method combining benefits from qualitative and quantitative approaches for exploring the breadth of a topic in its entirety, especially for abstract concepts. GPs found the concept mapping method to be efficient for group inquiry, rating it high on utility. There is scope to refine the method, reducing time spent in some stages of the session, and substituting more time on final analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Clinical Competence
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires