'Bricolage': Qualitative Market Research Redefined

Gill Ereaut
Mike Imms

The term 'bricolage' has been used to describe diversity, pragmatism and creativity in method and interpretation in qualitative market research (1,2). We will use and develop it as the starting point for a debate about what does and what could constitute 'qualitative market research'.


A 'bricoleur', the dictionary says, is 'a Jack of all trades, a handyman'. Far away in a parallel universe, its application to academic qualitative research is explained by Denzin and Lincoln as follows: 'The qualitative researcher as bricoleur uses the aesthetic and material tools of his or her craft, deploying whatever strategies, methods or empirical materials are at hand. If new tools have to be invented, or pieced together, then the researcher will do this.' (3)