A practical guide to using digital games as an experiment stimulus

Simo Järvelä, Inger Ekman, Matias Kivikangas, Niklas Ravaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Digital games offer rich media content and engaging action, accessible individually or in groups collaborating or competing against each other. This makes them promising for use as a stimulus in research settings. This paper examines the advantages and challenges of using games in experimental research with particular focus on strict stimulus control through the following four areas: (1) matching and regulating task type, (2) data segmentation and event coding, (3) compatibility between participants, and (4) planning and conducting data collection. This contribution provides a breakdown of the steps necessary for using a digital game in experimental studies, along with a checklist for researchers illustrating variables that potentially affect the reliability and validity of experiments. We also offer a study example to illustrate how these considerations apply to practice. The aim is to provide support to researchers planning and conducting empirical experiments involving games, and also to those evaluating the works of others.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransactions of the Digital Games Research Association
Volume1
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)85-115
Number of pages31
ISSN2328-9414
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 113 Computer and information sciences
  • 515 Psychology

Cite this