Using Concept Mapping to Enhance the Research Interview

  • Ian M Kinchin King's College London
  • David Streatfield Information Management Associates
  • David Brian Hay King's College London


In this paper the authors report the use of concept mapping as a means of summarizing interview transcripts in the study of the information-seeking behavior of employees in an organization. Concept mapping differs from traditional methods of textual coding for interview analysis by making underlying cognitive structures transparent and giving a focus to the sets of propositions by which individuals construct meaning. Concept map structure correlates with the perceived richness of interview data. They provide quick summaries of the interview quality and may help to identify topics for further probing to elicit new information. In this study rich interviews provide complex concept map structures, whereas less successful interviews provide simpler, spoke structures. Issues in using concept maps with research interviews are discussed, including use as a retrospective interview probe, as a check on evidence saturation, as a form of data display or as a form of creative coding.

Author Biographies

Ian M Kinchin, King's College London
Senior Lecturer in Higher Education
David Streatfield, Information Management Associates
David Brian Hay, King's College London
Senior Lecturer