The thinking process in creativity is mostly driven by solving problems never experienced before and dealing with a lot of uncertainty, especially concerning results – due to its experimental nature – by the way, just like in research itself. On the inverse perspective, you may also find that research is a constant decision-making activity, in which every single decision opens a door for creativity. It is therefore unfair to link research exclusively to science when research and creativity holding hands is essential to the practice of each one of them alone. Surprisingly or not, scientists are beginning to see the benefits of creative research techniques in science, especially in the framework of social sciences, due to a more ethical attitude in decision making.
Creative research method definition
In creative research, the researcher is allowed to include his/her creative practice (the use of imagination and original ideas), creative methods and/or creative output in research or as part of the research output.
A century ago, research was considered a neutral activity, apart from the general society, with the researcher locked in his lab, and seen as having no influence or effect whatsoever in his own research process. More recently, deep reflections about art-based research methods led to a turning point in research methodologies, in which scientists are more open to question themselves about the “old ways” and often challenge themselves to discover alternative ways to achieve results.
It is becoming clearer and clearer every day that creative research methods can help answer complex contemporary questions that conventional methods alone no longer can. The mainstream thought among today’s scientists is that research methods should be those that most likely will help to provide an answer to the big question, rather than compromising to an existing one. On the other hand, new methods may seem very tempting to try out, but one must always think if there is a more conventional one that would serve the research better.
Creative research and scientific research techniques
From day to day it is getting harder and harder to separate these two forms of research. The governments around the world, in general, have been legitimating the role of the arts in society so it is only natural that creative thinking blends gradually deeper into other human activities such as science, for example. However, if we want to plunge in a more conservative view, there are some fundamental aspects that can help differentiate the nature of creative vs scientific research although, as said before, these are boundries that tend to dissipate over time:
|Creative research||Scientific Research|
|Community||More open to the general community during all phases of research.||More reserved to established institutions and therefore more invisible to general communities.|
|Nature||Contextual constructed||Observation oriented|
|Technology||Normally used as form of expression or medium.||Normally used as tool/instrument for observation|
Arts-based methods in research can really help you to sky-rocket visibility rates among the science communities. For example, today, it is possible to submit video abstracts as part of your submission process. It is an effective way to share the core message of your research while maximizing visibility, curiosity and interest in it. Also, gathering data through arts-based methods (drawing, storytelling, photography, singing, drama, etc..) can benefit your research when dealing with special groups of people, like children, disabled persons, or people that don’t speak the same language as you.
Although the concept creativity is generally believed to be associated with more libertarian kinds of human activities, like visual arts, music, performance, theatre, etc.., it is also true that creativity in research is tied to constraints that every researcher eventually faces: budget, burocracy, regulations, time constrains and, eventually, courage. If you intend to involve creative thinking in your research, expect some frustrations regarding normal constraints, similar to conventional research, but also the possibility of poor acceptance of your methods within the science community, for example.
Other facing challenges might be constructing a manuscript based on methods never tried before, having no prior references, or even putting up an innovative way to present your findings, resembling the novelty of the research method itself. In Elsevier, you can find excellent text editing services that will help you achieve the text quality you need for a successful submission in a journal. Our language professionals are familiar with specialized vocabulary and our illustrators are up to date with new forms of presenting scientific data, as novel as they might be.
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