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Creativity. Theories – Research - Applications

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Ideational Pathways: Toward a New Approach for Studying the Life of Ideas

Lene Tanggaard
  • The Center for Qualitative Studies, The International Center for the Cultural Psychology of Creativity, Aalborg University, Kroghstræde 3, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark
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/ Ronald A. Beghetto
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  • Department of Educational Psychology, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, 2131 Hillside Road Storrs, CT 06269-3007
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Published Online: 2015-11-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ctra-2015-0017


What is the life of an idea? How do some ideas result in creative outcomes? People interested in creativity often want to know the answers to these questions. Although there are numerous methods and measures for assessing creative persons and products, there is little by way of methods for documenting and analysing the trajectories of ideas. The purpose of this paper is to address this need by introducing a new approach for tracing and analysing ideational pathways. Ideational pathways refer to the trajectory of ideas in temporal and spatial dimensions. That is, how ideas travel through time and space and whether those ideas end up resulting in creative outcomes. We open the paper by providing a theoretical and conceptual background for ideational pathways. We then introduce an emerging approach for tracing these pathways and apply it to two examples. We close by discussing implications and directions for future research.

Keywords: Creativity research Theoretical critique Creativity measurement Creativity definition Group creativity


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About the article

Received: 2015-04-28

Revised: 2015-06-18

Accepted: 2015-08-17

Published Online: 2015-11-26

Published in Print: 2015-11-01

Citation Information: Creativity. Theories – Research - Applications, ISSN (Online) 2354-0036, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ctra-2015-0017.

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© 2015. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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