Bricolage Approach

Bricolage Approach diagram

‘Bricolage’ comes from the French ‘bricoler’ which means ‘creatively using materials left over from other projects to construct new artefacts’ (Rogers, 2012 P1). It is an approach to theoretical and qualitative methodological enquiry based on the understandings that:

  • reality is complex and multidimensional, particularly social reality. It and therefore cannot be adequately understood through any one pre-determined theoretical framework.
  • all research is political: knowledge and power are intimately linked so the only way to gain rigour and depth of understanding is to include the perspectives of those normally excluded from ‘dominant knowledge construction’.
  • research methodologies therefore need to be eclectic, non-linear and emergent, bringing together multiple and potentially competing voices. Linking back to the meaning of ‘bricolage’ in visual research this includes working with cheap local materials and in multiple styles, particularly those that can facilitate inclusion of people normally marginalised by gender, race, class and other dimensions of inequality.


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Wibberley, C.(2012) Getting to Grips with Bricolage: A Personal Account. The Qualitative Report, 17, 1-8.

Wibberley, C. (2017) Bricolage Research Methods. In E. A. Glasper & C. Rees (Eds.), Health Care Research: at a glance. Ch 52 pp106-1071. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell: