Graphic elicitation and diagramming are useful for qualitative researchers. Diagrams of families have been used in clinical, education, and other applied settings as tools for description and analysis of family relationships since the 1950s. Despite the potential utility of family diagrams to qualitative researchers who seek to understand and theorize the complexities of family structures and relationships, participatory family diagramming, where diagrams of family relationships are co-created by researcher(s) and participant(s) and used as a foundation for interviewing, has largely remained an untapped resource. We describe how we used participatory family diagrams as design elements of multidisciplinary qualitative interview study projects and highlight the benefits of this practice. Our experiences demonstrate how participatory family diagramming enhances rapport with research participants, improves rigor, and aids in analysis of qualitative interview data. We offer practical suggestions for how to incorporate participatory family diagramming as a methodological tool into cross-disciplinary qualitative interview research.


Family Studies

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research

Document Type



This is a preprint of an article published in The Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research in 2023.