The Views of Engineering Students on Creativity

  • Paula Catarino
  • Maria M. Nascimento
  • Eva Morais
  • Paulo Vasco
  • Helena Campos
  • Helena Silva
  • Rita Payan-Carreira
  • M. João Monteiro


Creativity plays a growing role in education, from elementary school to higher education. Nowadays, both employers and universities develop research and are committed to the development of the twenty-first-century interpersonal, applied skills—creativity included—foreseen as fundamental to all professionals, engineers added. Generally, engineering degrees focus on the content of their scientific areas. In some higher education degrees, creativity still plays a small role. In order to reinforce the importance of creativity in the engineering degrees in a Portuguese northeastern university, it was pertinent to study the conceptions of engineering students about creativity. This study presents the conceptions of creativity of the first-year students of higher education, in the engineering area in two school years. The answers of 128 first-year students from two academic years (61 from 2014/15 and 67 from 2016/17) and four different degrees to the open question—“What is creativity?” were analyzed. It was a mixed study, qualitative to deepen students’ conceptions and quantitative to study some proportions differences and variables crossing. The results show low personal involvement even in the use of the first person plural in either school year, although the students’ most used sentence was “for me.” In both academic years, students’ definitions mentioned more the creation of the implicit category in the content analysis. The words “new” and “way” were common to all the word clouds produced, and creativity and innovation appear somehow connected. In general, proportion differences were not statistically significant and degree crossed with categories showed no dependency.


Mathematical Creativity Engineering education Students Conceptions 



This work is financially supported by National Funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia under the project UID/CED/00194/2013 and PEst-UID/MAT/00013/2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Catarino
    • 1
  • Maria M. Nascimento
    • 1
  • Eva Morais
    • 1
  • Paulo Vasco
    • 1
  • Helena Campos
    • 1
  • Helena Silva
    • 1
  • Rita Payan-Carreira
    • 1
  • M. João Monteiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Matemática da Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia da, Vila Real Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro—UTADVila RealPortugal

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