A Bricoleur Approach to Navigating the Methodological Maze

  • Reyna Zipf
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Education Research Methods book series (PSERM)


This chapter discusses how a bricoleur approach enabled a nebulous concept, creativity, to be researched in secondary school science. The process of creating the research approach is illustrated through the metaphor of a journey through a methodological maze. The author describes the methodological challenges faced by qualitative researchers using four milestones: entering the maze, inside the maze, emerging from the maze and arriving at a methodological destination. The chapter outlines how reaching a methodological destination requires methodological navigation skills and negotiation with self. Navigating the maze was expedited by a researcher-as-bricoleur stance. The chapter describes how the bricoleur approach enabled manoeuvring between and through methodological pathways possible, and became a tool for cutting holes in the maze hedge and allowing hitherto separate pathways to be joined.


Research Strategy Science Lesson Qualitative Researcher Secondary Science Teacher Ground Theory Method 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bradley, G. (2014, June). Six characters in search of an author: A qualitative comedy in the making. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(5), 659–667.Google Scholar
  2. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed.). London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research method: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1998). Entering the field of qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The landscape of qualitative research: Theories and issues. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.) (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Glaser, B. G. with the assistance of Judith Holton (2004). Remodelling grounded theory. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(2), Art. 4. Retrieved on January 28, 2011, from
  10. Hancock, D. R., & Algozzine, R. (2006). Doing case study research: A practical guide for beginning researchers. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kincheloe, J. (2004). Introduction: The power of the bricolage: Expanding research methods. In J. Kincheloe & K. Berry (Eds.), Rigour and complexity in educational research: Conceptualizing the bricolage (pp. 1–22). Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  12. King, J. (2009). The code of authentic living: Cellular wisdom. Fort Collins, CO: Beyond Success LLC.Google Scholar
  13. Lévi-Strauss, C. (1962/1966). The savage mind. Chicago, CA: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Lichtman, M. (2010). Qualitative research in education: A user’s guide (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Lundin, S. C. (2009). CATS: The nine lives of innovation (2nd ed.). Springhill, QLD: Management Press.Google Scholar
  16. Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  17. Morse, J. (1994). “Emerging from the data.” Cognitive processes of analysis in qualitative research. In J. Morse (Ed.), Critical issues in qualitative research methods (pp. 23–41). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Punch, K. F. (2009). Introduction to research methods in education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Robson, C. (2002). Real world research (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Wicks, D. (2010). Bricoleur. In A. J. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of case study research (pp. 60–61). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. doi: 10.4135/9781412957397.n25.Google Scholar
  21. Yin, R. K. (2003). Applications of case study research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reyna Zipf
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education and the ArtsCQUniversity AustraliaRockhamptonAustralia

Personalised recommendations