Mind Maps in Qualitative Research

  • Johannes WheeldonEmail author
  • Mauri Ahlberg
Reference work entry


Traditionally, qualitative data collection has focused on observation, interviews, and document or artifact review. Building on past work on visual approaches in the social sciences, in this chapter we consider the value(s) of mind maps for qualitative research. Mind maps are useful tools for qualitative researchers because they offer a mean to address researcher bias and ensure data are collected in ways that privilege participant experience. Qualitative researchers can benefit from visually oriented approaches to research by using them to assist them to plan their research, collect qualitative data, analyze what they have collected, and present findings. Of particular interest in this chapter is how mind maps can offer a graphic and participant-centric means to ground data within theory, assist participants to better frame their experience, and can be used as part of the design and development of additional data collection strategies and mixed methodological approaches. While future applications of mind maps are likely to use technological tools and techniques, there is value in the original approach of putting pen to paper and engaging in a creative and tactile process of outlining ideas and recounting experiences.


Mind mapping Qualitative research Theory Constructivism User generated data collection Mixed methods 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sociology and Justice StudiesNorwich UniversityNorthfieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of Teacher EducationUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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