Metasynthesis and bricolage: an artistic exercise of creating a collage of meaning

Qual Health Res. 2013 Sep;23(9):1285-92. doi: 10.1177/1049732313502127. Epub 2013 Aug 7.


During the past decades, new approaches to synthesizing qualitative data have been developed. However, this methodology continues to face significant philosophical and practical challenges. By reviewing the literature on this topic, our overall aim in this article is to explore the systematic and creative research processes involved in the act of metasynthesizing. By investigating synthesizing processes borrowed from two studies, we discuss matters of transparency and transferability in relation to how multiple qualitative studies are interpreted and transformed into one narrative. We propose concepts such as bricolage, metaphor, playfulness, and abduction as ideas that might enhance understanding of the importance of combinations of scientific and artistic approaches to the way the synthesizer "puzzles together" an interpretive account of qualitative studies. This study can benefit researchers by increasing their awareness of the artistic processes involved in qualitative analysis and metasynthesis to expand the domain and methods of their fields.

Keywords: evidence-based practice; hermeneutics; knowledge construction; meta-ethnography; metasynthesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Art*
  • Creativity*
  • Data Collection*
  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods
  • Humans
  • Knowledge Management
  • Metaphor
  • Qualitative Research*