Handbook of Research on Creativity
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Handbook of Research on Creativity

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.
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Chapter 17: Creative thinking: processes, strategies and knowledge

Michael D. Mumford, Vincent Giorgini, Carter Gibson and Jensen Mecca


When we undertake work on a new topic we must ask ourselves what at first appears to be a straightforward question – what am I working on? For creativity researchers this seemingly straightforward question has proven difficult to answer (Hennessey & Amabile, 2010). Examining the history of creativity research we see many different proposed answers to this question. Guilford (1950) argued that students of creativity are trying to understand a special form of performance. Other scholars have posited that we are seeking to understand the outcomes of exceptional talent (e.g., Terman & Oden, 1959). Still other researchers have argued that we are seeking to understand eminent professional achievement (e.g., MacKinnon, 1962). Although all three of these approaches to understanding creativity have been employed at different points in time, as the field matures (Mumford, 2003) we have begun to see a consensus definition emerge.

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