A review of brainstorming techniques in higher education

Hosam Al-Samarraie, Shuhaila Hurmuzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Various Brainstorming (BS) techniques have been proposed specifically to develop individuals’ creativity and productivity during idea-generation sessions. Yet, the available knowledge about the potential of certain BS techniques seem very limited in higher education. Thus, a review of previous studies on some BS types such as the traditional brainstorming (TBS), nominal brainstorming (NBS), and electronic brainstorming (EBS) was conducted. A total of 42 well-grounded studies about the use of these techniques in a university context were reviewed. The classification of these studies was based on four key schemes related to the purpose of use, opportunities, challenges, and proposed solutions in a discipline-specific context. The review results revealed a set of evidences supporting the use of TBS, NBS, and EBS in specific areas. We also provided a comprehensive view of why certain interventions can be more effective in some contexts than others. The insights gained from this review can be used to guide educational decision makers to identify the best BS practices/conditions within a university setting. It also shed light on the potential opportunities and challenges that students may experience when using certain BS rules and techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-91
Number of pages14
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Early online date18 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Brainstorming
  • Creativity
  • Group discussion
  • Higher education
  • Idea generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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