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Research trends in the study of gamification

Raed S. Alsawaier (Department of Teaching and Learning, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA)

International Journal of Information and Learning Technology

ISSN: 2056-4880

Article publication date: 28 March 2019

Issue publication date: 17 September 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine the research design of several publications on the study of gamification and proposes a mixed-method research design for creating a holistic understanding of the gamification phenomenon. It presents an argument in support of combining both qualitative and quantitative data sources through mixed-method design as being equally important in illuminating all aspects of the research problem.


The paper covers a number of methodological themes relevant to the study of gamification: research design trends in the study of gamification; the importance of mixed-method design in the study of gamification; methodological challenges; conclusion and recommendations.


Majority of the studies on gamification before 2015 are either quantitative or described as mixed method but overly focused on quantitative data sources. However, there is a tendency between 2015 and 2017 to adopt mixed-method design.

Research limitations/implications

The study does not examine all research done on the topic of gamification but relies on 56 empirical studies reviewed by Hamari, Koivisto, Sarsa (2014) and Seaborn and Fels (2015) between 2009 and 2015.


The author believes it to be one of the few studies of its kind on proposing a methodological design for the study of gamification as a pedagogical tool.



Alsawaier, R.S. (2019), "Research trends in the study of gamification", International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 373-380.



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