Title

Concept mapping: A dynamic, individualized and qualitative method for uncovering occupational meaning.

Location

Hiawatha 3

Start Time

18-10-2014 1:45 PM

End Time

18-10-2014 2:15 PM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

Background/Rationale: Concept mapping uncovers the natural complexities embedded in the formation of knowledge. It provides a visual representation of how the nuances of one’s participation in a chosen occupation communicate and inform one another, exposing how the individual constructs meaning.

Statement of Intent: In this presentation the researchers look to explore the history of concept mapping and its current developments in occupational science research. We will elaborate on the benefits of moving toward a more qualitative representation of concept mapping, and will propose a new framework for its application and analysis. Finally we will discuss how our new approach to concept mapping will impact the field of occupational science, and examine areas for future development.

Argument: Concept mapping is founded on the understanding that knowledge is constructed among individuals and not discovered. The constructivism paradigm views meaning as constructed by individuals interacting and engaging with the world they are interpreting (Crotty, 2003). Meaning is therefore seen as subjective as are the concept maps that are created in response to understanding a particular question or phenomenon. They are subjective representations of one’s understanding, and facilitate a creative interaction between the individual and the occupation they are exploring. Concept maps can be created in a manner that appeals to the different senses of the individual as well as the researcher. This multi-sensory experience facilitates the complex and holistic construction of knowledge and understanding around occupations.

Conclusions: The manner in which an individual constructs their concept map gives clues to their values, beliefs and the meaning they attribute to their occupations (Wheeldon & Faubert, 2009). Concept mapping allows the researcher to interact with their data, uncover new relationships, and view the information from a different perspective. It celebrates the diversity and complexity that is embedded in occupations therefore making it an ideal method for collecting and analyzing data in the field of occupational science.

Contribution: The blend of structure and creativity in concept mapping encourages researchers utilize this visual method as another tool to explore the individual meanings, and expose the complexity of occupations.

Key Words: concept mapping, qualitative research, visual methods

References

Crotty, M. (2003) The Foundations of Social Research: Meaning and perspective in the research process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Novak, J.D. (1993). Human constructivism: A unification of psychological and epistemological phenomena in meaning making. International Journal of Personal Construct Psychology, 6(2), 167-193.

Pink, S. (2009). Doing sensory ethnography. London, UK: Sage.

Rose, G. (2007). Visual methodologies an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials (2nd ed). London, UK: Sage.

Wheeldon J. & Faubert, J. (2009). Framing experience: Concept maps, mind maps in qualitative research. Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(3), 68-83.

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Oct 18th, 1:45 PM Oct 18th, 2:15 PM

Concept mapping: A dynamic, individualized and qualitative method for uncovering occupational meaning.

Hiawatha 3

Background/Rationale: Concept mapping uncovers the natural complexities embedded in the formation of knowledge. It provides a visual representation of how the nuances of one’s participation in a chosen occupation communicate and inform one another, exposing how the individual constructs meaning.

Statement of Intent: In this presentation the researchers look to explore the history of concept mapping and its current developments in occupational science research. We will elaborate on the benefits of moving toward a more qualitative representation of concept mapping, and will propose a new framework for its application and analysis. Finally we will discuss how our new approach to concept mapping will impact the field of occupational science, and examine areas for future development.

Argument: Concept mapping is founded on the understanding that knowledge is constructed among individuals and not discovered. The constructivism paradigm views meaning as constructed by individuals interacting and engaging with the world they are interpreting (Crotty, 2003). Meaning is therefore seen as subjective as are the concept maps that are created in response to understanding a particular question or phenomenon. They are subjective representations of one’s understanding, and facilitate a creative interaction between the individual and the occupation they are exploring. Concept maps can be created in a manner that appeals to the different senses of the individual as well as the researcher. This multi-sensory experience facilitates the complex and holistic construction of knowledge and understanding around occupations.

Conclusions: The manner in which an individual constructs their concept map gives clues to their values, beliefs and the meaning they attribute to their occupations (Wheeldon & Faubert, 2009). Concept mapping allows the researcher to interact with their data, uncover new relationships, and view the information from a different perspective. It celebrates the diversity and complexity that is embedded in occupations therefore making it an ideal method for collecting and analyzing data in the field of occupational science.

Contribution: The blend of structure and creativity in concept mapping encourages researchers utilize this visual method as another tool to explore the individual meanings, and expose the complexity of occupations.

Key Words: concept mapping, qualitative research, visual methods