The Exploration of Research Practices in the Field of Gamification
The current state of gamification research is under criticism for a variety of reasons including the lack of structure, lack of rigour, and confusion of terms occurring in the field (Hamari, 2015; Hamari & Koivisto, 2015; Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014; Mekler, Brühlmann, Tuch, & Opwis, 2015; Seaborn & Fels, 2015). This study investigated these criticisms by exploring the perspectives of gamification researchers who conduct or have conducted gamification research at Canadian Universities. Four professors at Canadian Universities were interviewed for their perspective of the current state of gamification research. The professors garnered ideas on how to improve the field of gamification research. This study utilized criteria for gamification developed by Hamari et al. (2014) that requires research to a) be peer-reviewed, b) have empirical evidence, c) explicate research methods, d) identify motivational affordances, e) provides an outcome (Psychological or Behavioural), and f) be on gamification (Hamari et al., 2014). Using Hamari’s conceptual framework and a collective case study methodology, this study used semi-structured interviews to develop suggestions from gamification researchers to identify methods on how to improve research practices. The improvements included the need for more a) arm-length studies, b) detail concerning the methodology and methods used, c) longitudinal studies, d) use of cross-curricular teams, and e) theoretical frameworks that are developed from the field of gamification research. This study revealed a distinct tone of optimism and provides recommendations for future research studies and advice for novice gamification researchers.