Table 2. Code categories (top-level codes) with more than 5 references

Figure 4. A hierarchy chart for top-level codes.





37 mental maps were analysed and a total of 444 codes were found in the images. Some codes were grouped into categories that represent a common theme or an overarching concept, such as buildings, outdoor activities or outdoor places. The maximum number of codes for one map was 28. The code categories are represented in Table 2, and a hierarchy chart for top-level codes is illustrated in Figure 4. A complete code book can be found in Appendix.

However, the number of codes in different categories does not reveal much. It is obvious that students remember buildings, some places outside, transport links and places where they eat. The presence of these elements on the mental images can be explained by their functional value and familiarity (Burgmanis, Krišjane & Šķilters, 2014). The only uncommon observation at this stage was within the "Elements marked as unknown" category. It included question marks, signs labelled "Undiscovered land", "Some unknown buildings" and a lot of elements without any names or markings shaped either as a building or as a tree. This is unusual, as a mental map typically includes the elements which are known or valuable for the person drawing it.

To understand more about the top-level themes, I looked more specifically into each category of codes. Which buildings are represented in the maps and why? How are they shown? What are the outdoor places that everyone marks in their maps?