Children Australia


Tag Clouds: Visual Representations of the Experiences and Needs of Children and Young People in Care

Stewart Redshawa1 c1

a1 Mercy Family Services, Brisbane, Australia


A decade of inquiries into the child protection and out-of-home care sectors across Australia has revealed a legacy of systemic abuse and individual neglect. The findings presented in this article form part of a larger research project that examined the experiences and needs of children and young people in out-of-home care within this broader context. Using document analysis, the larger study involved developing an in-depth understanding of their experiences and needs, and specifically, constructing a taxonomy of needs. The study also explored a series of salient findings about children and young people's experiences and needs in care and a number of these were explained using an innovative visual display method known as tag clouds. The aim of this article is twofold. First, to discuss the salient findings around the experiences and needs of children and young people in care in Australia using the tag clouds to illustrate the study's findings, and second, to discuss the potential use of tag clouds as an effective tool for providing visual representations of qualitative data.


  • Tag clouds;
  • word clouds;
  • out-of-home care;
  • document analysis;
  • qualitative data visualisation


c1 address for correspondence: Dr Stewart Redshaw, Research and Practice Development Manager, Mercy Family Services, P.O. Box 182, Banyo QLD 4014 E-mail: