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ERIC Number: ED524849
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 227
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-4154-2
The Role of Creativity in the Development of Identity and Purpose in Undergraduate Seniors
Aaron, Robert William
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Creativity is highly valued when teaching children to play, and it is through acts of play children begin to learn about the world. However, along the road to adulthood, creative minds often become stifled. Creativity may be viewed as impractical or unnecessary when learning hard and true facts, and yet, as experienced in childhood, creativity continues to be an important tool for learning even into adulthood, especially for college students developing their identity and discovering their career direction. The purpose of this study was to generate a grounded theory that explored the role of creativity on the development of identity ("Who am I?") and life purpose ("How will I contribute to society?") in undergraduate seniors. A senior capstone project, like a senior thesis, an art exposition, or a music recital, was seen as a technique that allowed for expressions of creativity, and these projects were viewed as examples of creativity in college students. A qualitative research methodology was used for this exploratory study. Fourteen students at a large Midwestern university were interviewed about their opportunities for creativity and how these experiences informed them about themselves. In addition they were asked for their vision of their future career path and how this may be linked to their experiences with creativity while in college. Data analysis involved using a constant-comparative method that defined overarching themes and generated a theory describing the influence of creativity on the development of identity and purpose. The major outgrowth of the study was the creation of a theory on academic identity development. This involves three steps: (1) intrinsic intensity, (2) process of taking ownership, and (3) informed contribution to society. Recommendations for future research involve studies with students from specific academic fields, in particular the visual and performing arts where creativity is known to be salient but remains under-researched. Practical implications of this study include the improvement of career development encouraging explorations with taking ownership for something creative to better-inform identity and purpose. Another suggestion for improvement of practice is the development of institution-wide senior capstone experiences fostering movement through the theory of academic identity development. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A