Concept mapping is a participatory, mixed method research approach that yields a conceptual framework for how a group views a particular topic or aspect of a topic. A specific strength of the community health research method is that participants actively contribute to the research process through the generation of data, ensuring the final outcome is representative of their perspectives versus that of the researcher. Concept mapping has been used in public health to study issues such as intimate partner violence, birth outcomes, asthma, general community health, and barriers to breast cancer screening and treatment. It is a particularly appropriate method for gaining insights into how communities view and prioritize health topics.
Six Steps to Concept Mapping
- Outline research goals
- Determine participant recruitment process
- Brainstorming and idea generation around focal question
- Sorting and rating the brainstormed items
- Run multi-level analysis to create concept maps
- Group discussions to understand meaning of maps
- How findings can be used to inform research goals
- Policy implications
to view an example concept mapping point map, cluster map, and pattern match graph.