Extraordinary: reflections on sample representativeness

Viktor Dörfler, Marc Stierand

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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In this chapter we reflect on a particular way of studying immensely high complexity, such as creativity, by investigating extraordinary achievers. The basis of our reflections are two empirical studies, one conducted in the area of haute cuisine, through interviewing top chefs, and the second conducted in the area of science, thorough interviewing Nobel Laureates. We explore why we feel that studying such extraordinary individuals can be more fruitful for better understanding creativity than trying to achieve an artificially manufactured sample that provides insights about the creative potential of the average individual. We outline the problems we see with the notion of representative samples from both conceptual as well as feasibility perspectives and offer an argument for studying the extraordinary instead.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Social Creativity Research
EditorsVlad Petre Glăveanu, Izabela Lebuda
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-95498-1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Creativity and Culture


  • qualitative research
  • significant samples
  • representativeness
  • extraordinary
  • generalizability


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