How Researchers Manage Ideas

Nanna Inie, Jonas Frich Pedersen, Peter Dalsgaard

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Research ideas are pivotal in research practice. While research domains, topics, and methods are often outlined by specific research fields, the process of capturing and developing research ideas is less categorical. Conceiving and developing research ideas requires continuous creative thinking, usually supported by various different tools, each more or less carefully selected by a researcher to fulfill a specific purpose. In this paper, we investigate the creative work practices of academic researchers, with a focus on the workflows and tools they employ to manage ideas. Through a qualitative survey (n=51) and in-depth interviews (n=18) with researchers from a wide range of fields, we identify and describe typical processes of managing research ideas, different types of research ideas (a research question or problem, a method, a hypothesis or antithesis, and a theory), properties of good research ideas, as well as potentials for tools and technology to support idea management for researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationC&C '22: Creativity and Cognition
Publication date2022
ISBN (Electronic) 9781450393270
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Research Ideas
  • Idea Management
  • Creative Work Practices
  • Qualitative Survey
  • Academic Research Tools


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