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Daniel Wentzel
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Daniel Wentzel   My Press Releases

Bricolage, Informed Eclecticism and Other Ingredients in the Paradigm Soup

Published on 4/14/2014
For additional information  Click Here

According to the Association of Qualitative Research: "Bricolage" is a term referring to the deliberate mixing of qualitative methods and ways of thinking in order to address a specific issue or problem. A 'bricoleur' essentially means a jack-of-all-trades, and 'bricolage' has been used within academic qualitative research to describe a pragmatic and eclectic approach to qualitative research - one in fact similar to that adopted in most commercial research. It was introduced to British commercial researchers by Wendy Gordon (1999).

Another related term, "informed eclecticism", a term coined by Spackman, Barker and Nancarrow (2000) to describe a broad and eclectic approach to market research (qualitative and quantitative), involving the use of theories, methods and researchers drawn from a wide range of disciplines.

According to Cameron (2011: 96) "Mixed methods research (MMR) is often referred to as the third methodological movement and has witnessed a rapid rise in popularity in the last 10 years. Prominent authorities in the field now refer to the MM research community which has developed its own philosophical, theoretical, methodological, analytical and practical foundations and constructs for the conduct of MMR."

Is there any evidence of a relationship between the above? "Bricolage" seems to refer to a mixture of qualitative methods only, whereas "informed eclecticism" seems to refer more to a mixture of both qualitative and quantitative methods. Or, to use a term coined by Buchanan & Bryman (2007: 486), are they additional ingredients that can be added to the "paradigm soup"? Or, have I answered my own question?

Can one regard someone with these skills as "generalist" of research methods? And, if so, is there room for a such person?


Buchanan, D. and Bryman, A. (2007) “Contextualizing methods choice in organizational research”, Organizational Research Methods, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp 483-501.

Cameron, R. “Mixed Methods Research: The Five Ps Framework” The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods Volume 9 Issue 2 2011 (pp 96-108), available online at

Good Thinking: A Guide to Qualitative Research: Wendy Gordon: 9781841160306: Books [WWW Document], n.d. URL 

THE ASSOCIATION FOR QUALITATIVE RESEARCH, the hub of qualitative thinking: Glossary of terms used in Qualitative Research,

The Secret Power Of The Generalist -- And How They'll Rule The Future,

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