Asee peer logo

Work in Progress: Comparing Creativity and the Perception of Creativity of First-Year and Senior Engineering Students

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

ERM Technical Session 12: Creativity and Problem Framing

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Caleb Sean Cunningham Bucknell University


Kaela M. Martin Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott

visit author page

Kaela Martin is an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott Campus. She graduated from Purdue University with a PhD in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering and is interested in increasing classroom engagement and student learning.

visit author page


Elif Miskioglu Bucknell University

visit author page

Dr. Elif Miskioglu is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University. She graduated from Ohio State University in 2015 with a PhD in Chemical Engineering, and is interested in student learning in engineering. In particular, her work focuses on various aspects of students' development from novice to expert, including development of engineering intuition, as well as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This work-in-progress describes preliminary studies on assessing the relationship between changes in perceived and demonstrated creativity between first-year and senior engineering students. Innovation is essential to engineering; creativity is vital for innovation to occur. Previous work by Davis et al. has shown that engineering student’s perception of their creativity increases as they reach graduation, whereas work by Kazerounian and Foley shows that students feel that they lack the element of creativity in the classroom. To our knowledge, no study assesses correlations between perceived and demonstrated creativity with a single body of students.

In this work, we present engineering students at the beginning and end of their university career, first-year and seniors, with open-ended design challenges. Both the first-year and senior students will be equally equipped to answer the design challenges. The students sketch and briefly summarize, in written form, the features of their designs, which will be judged by a group of experts (engineering faculty and professionals) who will score each students creativity. In accordance with prior research done by Christiaans, if a group of experts believe a solution is creative, then the solution is deemed creative. Students will also complete a survey that will capture their perception of their creativity in the solution. Comparing the survey results to the experts’ assessment of creativity provides insight as to whether perception and creative skill are correlated, as well as whether significant differences in either exist between first-year students and seniors. This work could provide the basis for future work into the engineering student psyche as well as research into how the current engineering pedagogy affects students’ perception of their own creativity.

References: Amabile, T. M.: 1983, The Social Psychology of Creativity, Springer-Verlag, New York. Amabile, T. A.: 2001, ‘Beyond Talent: John Irving and the Passionate Craft of Creativity’, American Psychologist 56(4), 333–336. Christiaans, H. H. C. M.: 1992, Creativity in Design. The Role of Domain Knowledge in Designing, Lemma B.V., Utrecht. Christiaans, H. H. C. M.: 2002b, ‘Creativity as a Design Criterion’, Creativity Research Journal 14, 41–54. Christiaans, H. H. C. M.: 2002a, Book Review of C. Eastman, M. McCracken, & W. Newstetter (eds.), (2001). Design Knowing and Learning: Cognition in Design Education. Elsevier, Oxford. Design Studies 23(4) 2002, 433–434. K. A. Davis and C. T. Amelink, "Exploring differences in perceived innovative thinking skills between first year and upperclassmen engineers," 2016 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Erie, PA, USA, 2016, pp. 1-7. Kazerounian K, Foley S. Barriers to Creativity in Engineering Education: A Study of Instructors and Students Perceptions. ASME. J. Mech. Des. 2007;129(7):761-768.

Cunningham, C. S., & Martin, K. M., & Miskioglu, E. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Comparing Creativity and the Perception of Creativity of First-Year and Senior Engineering Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33600

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015