Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



The purpose of this project was to explore the use of an eco-mapping protocol for measuring children’s social support networks. The project investigated two research questions: (1) what are the similarities and differences in the information provided by three informants in the eco-mapping protocol?, and (2) what information do eco-maps provide about children’s social support networks? Ten four-year-old children, their families, and teacher participated in the creation of eco-maps. Each informant identified the major people in the child’s support network, described relationships, and identified the type and developmental area of support provided by each individual. All the information was graphically represented into an eco-map using shapes and color coding to distinguish variations. Mixed methods were used to analyze the data in order to answer the two research questions. Parents, teachers, and children provided varied and diverse information regarding the children’s social network. The use of multiple informants provided a more comprehensive picture of the child’s support network. Qualitative analysis of the data sources for a subsample revealed four themes: the inner circle, only strong links, lots of shapes and colors, and symbols of support. Eco-maps with parents, teachers, and children may contribute to educational research and practice through providing detailed information about children’s social support network.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Baumgartner, Jennifer



Included in

Human Ecology Commons