Encouraged by the ACRL Framework’s call for librarians to adopt more engaging methods to teach students, as well as for students to assume more active, creative, and reflective roles in relation to the information landscape, the author questioned whether methods put forward by creativity training proponent Edward de Bono for fostering creativity might have any potential value for of helping students to engage in divergent thinking related to developing a research strategy, or as the framework would have it “Searching as a Strategic Exploration.” In order to answer this question, the author investigated the work of Edward de Bono and conducted a small experiment where 20 students in an information literacy credit class were randomly divided into a control group and an experimental group. The experimental group was presented with a set of directed strategies offered by de Bono in addition to regular instruction, while the control group was not. Afterwards, all members of the class were given an open ended writing assignment about a vaguely worded topic where they were asked to be creative. Student responses were evaluated for indications of divergent thinking by counting the number of interested parties identified in their writing in relation to the topic. It was found that the experimental de Bono group engaged in significantly more divergent thinking than did the control group, both in terms of originality and in the total number of interested parties that were generated. As such it would appear that de Bono’s methods and other similar approaches have potential value for promoting divergent thinking, an essential capacity for creativity, and likely for helping teaching librarians develop more active, creative, and reflective classroom practices. The model used is original within the realm of library pedagogy and has the potential to help librarians apply divergent thinking strategies to information literacy programs.
Hartnett, Joseph, "Exploring Creative Information Literacy Practices via Divergent Thinking" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.