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

Jessica G. Burke, Patricia O'Campo, Geri L. Peak, Andrea C. Gielen, Karen A. McDonnell, William M.K. Trochim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1410
Number of pages19
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Hypothesis generation
  • Methodology
  • Theory development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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