Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Creativity

Handbook of Research on Creativity

Elgar original reference

Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan

In this timely work, creativity is not defined by an ideal, rather it encompasses a range of theories, functions, characteristics, processes, products and practices that are associated with the generation of novel and useful outcomes suited to particular social, cultural and political contexts. Chapters present original research by international scholars from a wide range of disciplines including history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, education, economics and interdisciplinary studies. Their research investigates creativity in diverse fields including art, creative industries, aesthetics, design, new media, music, arts education, science, engineering and technology.

Chapter 1: Researching creativity and creativity research

Janet Chan

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, innovation and technology, innovation policy


This chapter is a meditation on how research on creativity has developed over the last few decades and includes some suggestions of its future direction. At first glance such a project seems straightforward enough: there are countless accounts of how creativity research has evolved both in detail (see, for example, Mayer 1999; Sawyer 2012) and in summary (see chapters in this volume by Miettinen, McIntyre, Zimmerman).From these accounts we get a fair idea of how different researchers have tried to make sense of the concept of creativity to find ways of fostering creative thinking and achievements. A quick read of the chapters in this volume would suggest that creativity research is far from homogeneous and in fact it is a diverse and porous field. It is not always clear who qualifies or identifies as a ‘creativity researcher’, and there are contestations and disagreements among researchers about some of the core issues relating to creativity. For example, whether creativity should always be regarded as something positive has been challenged by some of the contributors (see chapters by De Cock, Rehn and Berry; Cropley, Kaufman and Cropley; McGuigan; jagodzinksi in this volume).

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