Are you a postgraduate student doing qualitative research to answer causal questions?

Updated: Oct 21

We are offering small software grants, free support and a £500 prize to Masters & PhD students who use causal mapping in their research!

Causal mapping is a great way to do qualitative social research. Causal mapping (Narayanan 2005; Eden et al. 1992; Laukkanen and Wang 2016; Axelrod 2015) aims to directly understand and collate the causal claims which people make in narrative (and other) data rather than trying to deduce causal connections using statistical inference. It is commonly used to find out how groups of people (for example, stakeholders in an intervention) think the world works, but also to synthesise expert documentary evidence in order to make conclusions about how the world really does work.

The Causal Map app ( is a great way to do causal mapping. It’s a bit like NVivo or Dedoose, but it’s causal from the ground up. The app is already used by researchers and evaluation practitioners around the world and recently won the 2022 SAGE Concept Grant - an award for new software that supports social scientists during the research process.

You can try the app out for free, but subscriptions for larger datasets usually start from £39/month (+VAT)*. We know that can be a lot on a student budget, and we are keen to work with more postgraduate researchers, so Causal Map Ltd is offering 20 individual subscriptions for up to 18 months completely free and a £500 prize for the best proposal! We will also offer free group support sessions to help you learn how to use the app, alongside written guidance. To be in with a chance, all you have to do is send us, by 10th December 2022, at

  • a short, succinct proposal (less than 500 words) saying how you would like to include causal mapping in your PhD or Masters’ research (causal mapping does not have to be your main research method)

  • a one-paragraph email from your supervisor affirming that you are enrolled on a Masters or PhD course and that you have their approval to use causal mapping as part of your research

Applications will be considered on a first-come-first served basis; the £500 prize for the best proposal will be announced in December 2022.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Originality

  • Feasibility

  • Use of causal mapping

  • Social / environmental value

  • Contribution to science

*We do also offer student discounts, please get in touch:!

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