To read this content please select one of the options below:

Bricolage and the Health Promoting School

Kerry Renwick (College of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The propositional knowledge about the Health Promoting School (HPS) and how it privileges the health sector, and research through intervention and behaviour change rather than gaining an understanding of how social bases of health impact and influence individuals and the wider school community. The purpose of this paper is to explore how bricolage offers opportunity for understanding complexity, thick description and inter- and multi-disciplinary work. The experience of health promotion and what it looks like at the school level and provides epistemological considerations for reframing research about HPSs for purposes of social justice and equity through bricolage.


An introduction reveals the challenges of health promotion settings, and schools in particular to achieve social justice and equity. Bricolage is discussed with reference to complexity, thick description and inter- and multi-disciplinary work. Considerations are given to bricolage as research to gain understanding and to contribute to social change.


As a setting the HPS is a complex site of social interaction and where there is interplay of multiple, casual factors that influence health and well-being. The potential for social justice and equity remains latent and new approaches to investigating and researching are required. Bricolage offers substantial possibilities as it recognises the value of researching social contexts but with a deliberate intent to engage with participants.

Practical implications

This paper considers how bricolage can re-focus ontological and epistemological positions to engage in health promotion as a social action.


This paper raises questions about the ability of the HPS model to deliver on social justice under current compliance regimes.



Renwick, K. (2014), "Bricolage and the Health Promoting School", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 318-332.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles