Participatory Childhood Research With Concept Cartoons


  • Raphaela Kogler University of Vienna
  • Ulrike Zartler University of Vienna
  • Marlies Zuccato-Doutlik University of Vienna



childhood research, concept cartoons, participatory research, group discussions, visual methods, sociology of childhood


Participatory research with children is frequently characterized by adaptations of methods intended to embrace children's perspectives as co-researchers. Within the framework of a participatory qualitative study on the issue of divorce, a method deriving from the didactics of teaching was advanced. For the first time in social science research with children, the method was made useable for research with children: Concept cartoons, in which text-based and visual elements are interconnected, assist in encouraging children to engage in discussions and in involving them in various phases of the research. In this article, we present this approach to the participatory development and application of concept cartoons. The joint process of designing and using concept cartoons with 60 eight- to ten-year-old children elucidated the important incentives for discussion, as well as the potential this methodological approach has as a participatory research tool. The use of concept cartoons in this study made it possible to reconstruct children's associations and experiences and to gain insight into their concepts of parental divorce. Based on the participatory prospects in childhood research, we introduce the method and its potential, while highlighting participatory development and the pathways to application in social science research with children.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Raphaela Kogler, University of Vienna

Raphaela KOGLER, Mag. MA, is a researcher at the Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, and a lecturer at the Institute of Spatial Planning, TU Wien, with specialties in childhood, family, and urban sociology. As sociologist and educational scientist, her focus is on qualitative, participatory, and visual methods in social research, as well as children's appropriation of space and the integration of children's perspectives.

Ulrike Zartler, University of Vienna

Ulrike ZARTLER, MMSSc, PhD, is an associate professor of family sociology at the Department of Sociology, University of Vienna. Her research interests are in the sociology of the family, childhood and youth; life course transitions, divorce and post-divorce families; media in families; online civil courage among adolescents; and everyday family life during the corona pandemic.

Marlies Zuccato-Doutlik, University of Vienna

Marlies ZUCCATO-DOUTLIK, Lic., MA, is a research associate with the Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, since 2017 and holds a DOC-team scholarship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 2019. Her research currently focuses on divorce, children's welfare, and parenting in the discourse surrounding custody proceedings. In methodical terms, she is interested in both participatory research with children and the relevance of documents from family court proceedings to family sociology.



How to Cite

Kogler, R., Zartler, U., & Zuccato-Doutlik, M. (2021). Participatory Childhood Research With Concept Cartoons. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 22(2).