THE ROLE OF CASE STUDIES IN CREATIVITY RESEARCH Introduction Creativity research often involves case studies to understand the creativeprocess deeply. This lecture explores various case studies, methodologies, andthe importance of context in creative endeavors. Case Studies in Creativity Research Numerous case studies have been conducted on creative individuals in variousfields, offering valuable insights into their creative processes. Some notable studies focus on Bernard, Lavoisier, Krebs, and Nobel laureates inthe biomedical field, highlighting differences in the creative process betweendisciplines. These studies generally provide background information and then delve into thedetailed structure of the individual creative process. A Passion for Science "A Passion for Science," a collection edited by Wolpert and Richards (1988),exemplifies maintaining a developmental-process perspective in relatively briefstudies. This collection demonstrates that it's possible to balance personal and cognitive-creative issues in case studies. A Feeling for the Organism "A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock" by Keller(1983) captures the essence of capturing the feeling of the creative person atwork. The term "organism" in this context refers to the creative person and their uniquework. N=1 or N=Many? The term "case study method" typically implies studying one central figure, N=1.This is done for practical reasons and to emphasize the individual's uniqueness.
Focusing on individuality is a way to celebrate creativity and the creativeindividual's contributions. The size of N is less important than the case study's ability to maintain a primaryfocus on the creative work and the individual's role. Multiple Case Studies In some instances, dealing with more than one case simultaneously is essentialfor a comprehensive understanding of the work. Examples include close collaborations like the Curies, the Wright brothers, andconvergence of independent efforts, such as the work of Feynman, Dyson,Schwinger, and Tomonaga. Gardner's work (1993) used multiple case studies to represent seven individualswho, while not directly collaborating, collectively shaped the modern era. Case as System: Person and Milieu Critics have argued that case studies should not neglect the evolving milieu, thecontext in which creativity occurs. Gruber's approach in "Darwin on Man" (1981e) situates the creative individualwithin various milieux, such as family, school, workplace, and community. Subtler and transitory institutions, like the European students' Wanderjahr and"invisible colleges" in science, are also considered. Contextual Frames The idea of contextual frames involves considering societal arrangements withinwhich a creative life unfolds. The relevance of social class, institutional frameworks, and societal context canvary significantly between different cases. While understanding context is important, it should not replace the task of deeplyunderstanding the individual creative case.
Conclusion Case studies in creativity research provide in-depth insights into the creativeprocess of individuals across various fields. Balancing the focus on the individual and their context is crucial for acomprehensive understanding of creativity.