The value of the participatory network mapping tool to facilitate and evaluate coordinated action in health promotion networks: two Dutch case studies

Wijenberg, Evianne; Wagemakers, Annemarie; Herens, Marion; Hartog, Franciska den; Koelen, Maria


Introduction: Facilitating processes for coordinated action in the field of health promotion is a challenge. Poorthuis and Bijl’s (2006) Participatory Network Mapping Tool (PNMT) uses visualization and discussion to map the positions and roles of network actors, stimulate learning processes, and elicit actionable knowledge. This article describes the results from the application of the PNMT in networks of two Dutch health promotion programmes (Health Race and BeweegKuur) with the aim of determining the value of the PNMT to partners in health promotions networks.
Methods: A qualitative secondary analysis (QSA) was conducted to clarify positions and roles, learning processes, and actionable knowledge of network actors in existing data sets including five group interviews of the Health Race programme and 16 individual interviews and 15 group interviews of the BeweegKuur programme.
Results: The PNMT maps both positions and roles of (missing) actors and makes successes (e.g. knowing each other) and challenges (e.g. implementing new activities) visible. Thus, the PNMT provides a starting point for discussion and reflection and eliciting actionable knowledge such as involving new actors and target populations in the programme.
Conclusion: The PNMT contributes to the facilitation of coordinated action in health promotion networks by making positions and roles of network partners visible. In combination with dialogue and reflection the PNMT helps to elucidate factors influencing coordinated action and outcomes. The PNMT is valuable in grasping intangible aspects between actors by stimulating collective learning. These insights can be used by researchers and network actors to achieve more successful coordinated action for health promotion.