Document Type

Theses, Masters


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

A thesis submitted to Technological University Dublin in part fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Masters (M.A.) in Higher Education


Research on creativity in the delivery of social care highlights growing evidence of its importance for the wellbeing and quality of life of those in receipt of care, as well as benefits for the workforce. However, what is less well understood and overlooked in the literature is how creativity is conceptualised and operationalised in practice and education. This thesis attends to this gap in research from the perspective of social care educators. With the aim of deepening understanding of higher education teachers’ construction of creativity, the study explores small stories about creativity from six educators teaching into an undergraduate degree programme in social care at one higher education institution (HEI) in Ireland. The objectives of the research study were to hear social care educators’ stories of creativity in the hope that through dialogue, a shared understanding of creativity and a common language to talk about creativity could be developed. A narrative inquiry methodology was employed as a means of exploring educators’ lived experiences of creativity. Using a single method, oral narratives, semi-structured interviews were utilised to generate narrative data. The approach to the analysis of the data followed thematic analysis using Braun and Clarke’s (2009) framework to widen the range of interpretations. Four themes were identified and analysed inductively from the narratives: conceptualising creativity, empathetic imagination and understanding, engaging with self and others through creativity and the value of creativity (or not). The results illuminated that a democratic view of creativity is commonly held among educators and that creativity is most often conceptualised in relation to critical thinking, reflective practice and experiential learning. The application of creativity to practice reveals it is as way to build professional capacity in students and equip them with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to respond imaginatively to service user’s needs and the challenges of the workplace. The study concludes that forms of creativity expressed in everyday activities need to be recognised, developed and evidenced if creativity is to have a wider application in practice and calls for investment from those in the field to help creativity realise its full potential within social care.