Thursday, 9 April 2009

Research hypothesis

A first attempt at defining the exact hypothesis/hypotheses I will be testing in my work. Any comments welcome!

  • Creativity is something which can be measured and evaluated along a continuous and open-ended scale.
  • Two or more items can be compared against each other on how creative they are,
  • Crucially, creativity is multi-dimensional, involving several constituent factors or parts, considered in combination.
  • Creativity can definitionally be broken down into a comprehensive set of factors that are more tightly defined and less subjective than creativity itself.
  • We can use this set of factors to measure creativity, by assessing to what extent each factor is present. Combining these results is a sufficient way of measuring how creative an item is and gives an equivalent assessment to that obtained by having humans carry out evaluation of creativity in the same items.
  • Hence... One can assess the level of creativity present in an item or system, by measuring the system using a set of criteria which together contribute to a definition of creativity.
This set of factors I keep referring to is a work in progress... in its current raw form it includes (in no particular order):
  1. Novelty
  2. Generation of things
  3. Process/Methodology
  4. Generating something greater than the sum of its parts
  5. Going from known to unknown
  6. Unexpected
  7. Usefulness
  8. Experimentation/divergence
  9. Evolution of ideas
  10. aesthetics
  11. non-linear progress
  12. Multi-dimensional
  13. grounded in knowledge
  14. abstract thinking
  15. intuition
  16. vision
  17. flexibility/adaptability
  18. intelligence
  19. intention
  20. environmental/social constraints
  21. self-belief/tenacity
  22. promotion (personal and by others)
  23. fluency of ideas
  24. judgement
  25. imagination


  1. Hi Anna!

    That's really interesting stuff! Something comes to mind though -- feel free to completely ignore my comment should it be irrelevant.

    You seem to be approaching 'creativity' as one phenomenon that IS -- or ISN'T and you are making your task that of establishing what makes it BE so. [Am I right?]

    But what if "creativity" came in degrees and not as a fact? Maybe having a "gradable" approach to 'creativity" could be helpful in your analysis because you could then establish which factors play what role in relation to the other factors? Maybe different types of factor combinations lead to different types of 'creativity' and in that respect maybe a computer can be 'creative' in some ways but not in others? Maybe such approach could open a door to demonstrate why/how 'creativity' is such a slipery concept, and would thereby put your research question (i.e "Excuse me computer, are you creative?") in the middle of a very interesting debate: how can a computer on its own be juggling with external factors such as aesthetics, usefulness, unexpectedness (!), intuition (!) etc., and be indeed 'creative'?. Maybe an interesting question would be not so much "Computer, are you creative?" but rather "Computer, how creative are you?"

    Just a thought!, feel free to ignore ;-)

  2. Yes the idea of creativity being gradable and in degrees is exactly what I'm aiming at.

    So rather than being either creative or not creative, I am trying to say that something is creative to a certain degree.

    Also I hope to be able to make comparisons on a more detailed level, e.g. something contains more novelty than another thing, but produces ideas less fluently.

    Thanks for that comment, I think I need to reword the hypotheses so that this seems much clearer. And I think you're right about the title in the other post - 'how creative are you' is much better than 'are you creative'

  3. reworded slightly, although I'm still not overly happy with the summary (the bit in bold)...
    Is this a bit clearer or are there bits I could still clarify?