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Methodological Considerations in Educational Research Using Serious Games

Methodological Considerations in Educational Research Using Serious Games
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Author(s): Putai Jin (The University of New South Wales, Australia)
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 30
Source title: Gaming and Simulations: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch412

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Abstract

The literature on using serious games for learning has been growing exponentially during the last decade. It is time to examine some methodological issues associated with this line of research. There is evidence that research on serious games, if designed with methodological rigor and executed properly, such as the serial studies of prisoners’ dilemma, modality effect in individual interactive learning, and changes in attitude toward mathematics in a computer-based simulation game, can be fruitful and have a profound, positive impact on learning and training. Since adopting serious games as an educational technology tool is by no means cheap, we should ensure that methodological issues are carefully considered before conducting a study on educational games. Whereas there are excellent studies in the existing literature of simulations and games, it is not uncommon for some studies to adopt convenience samples or own-control designs. Studies on serious games tend to be conclusive if they have used true experimentation, well-controlled quasi-experimental design, surveys with representative samples and validated instruments, comprehensive design research, or training programs having a pretest–posttest design with group comparisons. The potential values and informative contributions of using different methodologies for serious game research should be recognized because of the ecological relevance. Future research should pay more attention to randomized sampling, controlled but feasible research design, validity of instruments, appropriate analytical methods, and interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary research to enhance the internal/external validity of various approaches. In regard to analytical methods, both quantitative approaches and qualitative evaluations, if applied appropriately, are considered as valuable, indispensable, and complementary to each other. It is hoped that this chapter can be helpful not only for future researchers in this field to design and execute rigorous projects but also for wider readership to understand and evaluate research outcomes in the discipline of serious games.

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