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This research paper investigates the perceptions of first year third level design students regarding their creative thinking and use of creative strategies, while studying a first year design based curriculum in an Institute of Technology in Dublin. The research was conducted in a three-phase, sequential project. The first phase, questioned twenty seven students by issuing anonymous questionnaires to gather data on their methods of incubating design ideas, if they experienced any levels of anxiety when doing so, and their satisfaction levels in their design and creative abilities. Literature was reviewed to discover the attributes of those we perceive as creative and if those attributes can be nurtured. Further literature was researched on whether or not creativity can be measured and what are the barriers to creativity. Finally the literature review addressed what might be the correct creative environment for students. The purpose of the investigation of the literature and the questionnaire data gathering was to create a format for the second phase of the project, a one day creativity workshop that addressed issues on creativity raised by the literature and the student cohort. A Creativity Games Day workshop was designed and conducted with a volunteer group of ten. It was hoped the workshop would enhance student’s belief in their creative abilities. The third phase of the project involved collecting further data by issuing a second questionnaire at the end of the workshop. A comparison of the data from both questionnaires is discussed to ascertain whether or not the participant’s perception of their creativity levels had changed. This small pilot study, while acknowledging the limitations placed on the results due to the narrow experience and small sample size of the research, does suggest that creativity can be nurtured in a student cohort.
Successfully submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the M.A. in Higher Education, 2011.