Becoming more creative in academic work


Are you struggling to come up with new ideas?

Well, London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor of Political Science, Patrick Dunleavy offers some helpful strategies for innovative and creative thinking over on The Impact Blog.

Here’s what we learnt:

1. Don’t overdo the literature review process

We often kill our creativity by over-extending literature searches and becoming bogged down in the small differences in research literature.  New connections are not made via endless searches (although a systematic review can bring unexpected results). Read based on your subject knowledge and write down all musings; however, ridiculous they first appear.

2. Look beyond your own discipline boundaries and formats

Read widely! Check out academic social media and digital scholarship resources, such as academic blogs, Google Scholar and ResearchGate. Review interesting articles in journals from related fields that you don’t normally read.

3. Record first impressions and ideas

Gather data for these ideas so they can be reviewed and harvested later using software such as EndNote.  You can also write, draw, doodle, etc. Don’t try too hard to organize your ideas at this stage.  When you have time, review and compare your ideas. Keep files on your thoughts and emotions for each idea.

4. Don’t expect miracles overnight

Creativity takes time. Being more relaxed and psychologically secure is known to invite more creative thinking. Innovations happen in ‘up and down’ cycles.

Read the full blog post here: Dunleavy, P. (2015) ‘First you see, then you know’: Becoming more creative in academic work’, The Impact Blog, December 23, 2015.