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Title: An ethnography of creativity : studies in multidisciplinary scientific research
Author: Beniston, Lee John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 1697
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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Scientific creativity is viewed as a key catalyst of scientific and technological progress yet it is an area for which there exists little understanding. This is lack of understanding is becoming increasingly problematic as scientific research and practice become ever more complex and multidisciplinary. This is because highly multidisciplinary university scientific research groups represent a rapidly emerging new era of scientific research and practice. Therefore, in order to help sustain scientific and technological progress in both universities and industry in the future, it is vital to gain an understanding of creativity in multidisciplinary scientific research. By this reasoning, this study aimed to gain a deeper understanding of scientific creativity in multidisciplinary research groups. Given the complexity of multidisciplinary scientific research, and the lack of study into scientific creativity by trained scientists, this study was undertaken from the perspective of a scientist trained in a multitude of scientific disciplines. A longitudinal, ethnographic methodology was employed in the study of three research groups. Over the course of two years, over 170 interviews were undertaken combined with many hours of observation. A Grounded Theory analytical approach facilitated the emergence of four theoretical constructs: leadership and supervision, knowledge-related concepts, individual level concepts and group level concepts. Combined, these constructs underpin the central theoretical contribution of this study: creativity in the groups was a multi level, sense-making process existing at: individual, group, faculty and institutional levels. At the individual level, creativity was a process of abstract conceptual blending. Collective engagement in the creative process relied upon distributed reasoning and restructuring. The creative sense-making processes at individual and group levels were also influenced by factors at faculty and institutional levels. Finally, the methodological and practical contributions of the study are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available