Developing a taxonomic framework for creativity in a problem-solving context: a research in the higher education context

Chai, Xun Yu (2022) Developing a taxonomic framework for creativity in a problem-solving context: a research in the higher education context. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Creativity has been recognised as one of the most important skills in the 21st century. Although creativity has been advocated in the context of education, there still seems to be a lack of understanding of the concept of creativity, leading to teaching and learning practices that still encourage uniformity and conformity. The current literature on creativity is insufficient for understanding creativity from a more comprehensive manner, as frameworks and taxonomies for creativity largely focus on either listing a set of components relevant to creativity without explaining strategies that invoke creativity or categorising creative strategies without explaining the factors that support the use of these strategies, and the result of applying these strategies. More importantly, these frameworks are largely theoretical without empirical evidence. While there have been studies that investigate approaches for developing creativity, the effectiveness of these approaches is measured based on the improvement demonstrated through the creative outputs produced by the participants, by mainly looking at the number of solutions being produced and the originality of the solutions. They do not examine the use of strategies in the creative processes. As such, the understanding of how creativity can be supported by the use of set of strategies remains insufficient. In view of these situations, this study aimed to develop a taxonomic framework that could facilitate the understanding and development of creativity, which could serve as a foundation for teaching, learning and assessment. This study viewed creativity from the problem-solving perspective, where problems act as a catalyst for creative thinking.

The sample for this study was lecturers and students across various disciplines from an international university in Malaysia. This study aimed at (i) developing a prototype taxonomic framework for creativity through a synthesis of literature on theories, frameworks and research on creativity, (ii) exploring and understanding the meaning of creativity from the higher education lecturers and students’ perspectives, (iii) examining the creativity features and usability of the taxonomic framework based on the perceptions of creativity and the relevance of the framework among a group of higher education lecturers and students, and (iv) examining the use of the creative strategies in the prototype taxonomic framework for creativity through a problem-solving task. The methodology for this study involved a mixed-methods, multiphase design. This study comprised four phases i.e., (i) a systematic synthesis of the literature on creativity through a thematic analysis to develop a prototype taxonomic framework for creativity, (ii) data collection from general higher education lecturers and students through a survey, (iii) data collection from the participant-nominated creative students and lecturers through a series of interviews, and (iv) data collection from higher education students through a problem-solving task. Findings revealed that the prototype taxonomic framework for creativity consisted of 24 features of creativity. Findings gained from the survey and interviews showed that creativity was generally perceived as an ability related to the mental processes and the ability to produce something that has a value – usually innovativeness and originality. Additionally, the taxonomic framework was generally perceived to be relevant for teaching, learning and assessment. Findings from the problem-solving task revealed that the taxonomic framework was able to facilitate creativity, by allowing students to use a wider range of strategies, produce more solutions, provide greater detail to their solutions and generate solutions that are novel, useful and ethical. In general, the overall findings from the study have demonstrated that creativity is a skill that can be taught and learned. The implications of the study offered several contributions of the framework for educational purposes.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: White, Anne Goodith
Wong, Tze Peng
Keywords: creativity, creativity in education, problem solving, taxonomic framework
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Education
Item ID: 69411
Depositing User: CHAI, XUN YU
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2022 02:16
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2022 02:16

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