What’s the PhD about?

Title of the PhD:

ResearchGames VS Gamified Surveys: The Impact on Participant Engagement of using Game Mechanics and Game Elements in Online Research – An Exploratory Approach

The PhD is aimed at building a theoretical framework on the impact that fully-fledged games and gamified surveys have on participant engagement.

Sub-aims of the PhD:

  1. Understanding the most engaging game mechanic or game element, or the combination of game mechanics and game elements which produce the highest levels of engagement:
    In comparing participant engagement with the two research designs, it will also be assessed which component(s) create engagement. For example, should the ResearchGame be the most engaging, was it the use of background music that created engagement, or perhaps the narrative or the graphical content, or a mix of all three?
  2. Evoking emotions:
    It will be assessed how the two research designs affect the emotions felt by participants, and the relevance these evoked emotions have with the research content. For instance, does evoking stress benefit the way a participant reacts to questions relating to stressful experiences?
  3. Data quality:
    It will be assessed how the levels of engagement and emotions in each of the research designs impact upon the quality of data as elicited from participants.
  4. Developing Design Recommendations:
    As an exploratory study, an emerging theory will be developed that will enable survey designers to utilise game-based research methods in the future to achieve the greatest levels of participant engagement and data quality.

A Balanced View:

This PhD is primarily concerned with understanding the impact that game-based research, whether applied as a game or gamification, has on participant engagement.
This means that along the way in developing the gamified survey and ResearchGame used in the PhD, there will no doubt be some design obstacles to overcome and some findings that will bring me to question the effectiveness of certain elements of design.
The advantages of game-based research will of course be explored and eventually publicised, however, as one of the sub-aims is to provide design recommendations to Industry, there needs to be clarity on any limitations of using game-based research methods and in executing a game-based research design.

I am dedicated to providing a balanced view of both methods; Gamified Surveys and ResearchGames, which is crucial, and part of the parcel of a Grounded Theory approach, which is the methodology I am harnessing throughout the PhD to provide a balanced of online game-based research methodologies.