Monday Feb. 26
Caifan Du: Dissertation Proposal Defense
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
UTA 5.522

Join us for iSchool doctoral student Caifan Du's dissertation proposal defense.

Title: Interrogating Creativity in Scholarly Research

Abstract: Many existing studies of scholarly behaviors seek to inform research practices and contribute to research policymaking, but few of them recognize that scholarly research is creative work. Accordingly, I propose a study that aims to uncover how creativity plays out in the practice of research. Yet, creativity is a subjective construct, culturally and socially bound by its historical time and place. Hence, it becomes critical to grasp the appropriate context when interrogating creativity in scholarly research. The proposed research explores the context of scholarly creativity through the lens of two broad changes in contemporary research practices: the intensifying specialization of knowledge production and the increasing frequency of individual researchers switching their research topics. I ask how researchers with different specializations experience working across research topics and their understanding of creativity. The study will implement a mixed methods research design: In the first phase of the study, I will analyze scholarly publication data to understand the topic-switching patterns of researchers in their distinct research communities. The second phase will be a follow-up interview study investigating creativity in researchers’ experiences and practices. By integrating findings from both phases of the study, I will build an understanding of creativity in scholarly research that can inform future research practices and policymaking as well as the multidisciplinary studies of scholarly behaviors and creativity.

Proposal PDF: https://utexas.box.com/s/9b8j14ui0q5ctzjppbu7z02ld088hzqg

Dissertation Committee: Eric Meyer (Co-Chair), Ahmer Arif (Co-Chair), Ying Ding, Mike Thelwall (external member, U. of Sheffield, UK)