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Scholarly interest in gamification: a citation network analysis

Keith Harman (Paul S. Dickinson College of Business, Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA)
Alex Koohang (School of Information Technology, Middle Georgia State College, Macon, Georgia, USA)
Joanna Paliszkiewicz (Department of Economics, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Warsaw, Poland)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 7 October 2014

2630

Abstract

Purpose

Gamification has been studied in many areas, i.e. marketing, education, training, and psychology. There has been an increased interest in the topic of gamification among scholars in the past several years. The purpose of this paper is therefore to use citation network analysis and explore changes in scholarly interest in the topic of gamification. As a result, four study hypotheses were developed: H1a: the “other” category publications (books, proceedings, etc.) will have a significantly larger frequency when compared with “journal” publications; H1b: the trend line of the frequency of publications will most closely fit the S-curve of Adoption in the adoption of innovations or the spread of new ideas as postulated by Rogers (2003); H2a: there will be a negative correlation between graph density and the number of vertices (publications); and H2b: there will be a positive correlation between average geodesic distance (AVGD) and the number of vertices (publications).

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from three searches for all published works that contained the word “gamification” in the titles of publication (the unit of analysis) from 2010 to 2013. The sampling was conducted via Google Scholar, amazon.com, and the academic library databases, i.e. EBSCO Search, JStor Scholarly Journal Archive, PsychArticles, and WorldCat. Data were analyzed using frequency counts and citation network. NodeXL is a highly structured workbook that includes multiple worksheets and computational functions necessary to store, represent, and analyze a network.

Findings

All four hypotheses were supported; the “other” category accounted for a significantly larger number of publications with the word “gamification” in the title; the trend line of the frequency of publications will most closely fit the S-curve of Adoption in the adoption of innovations or the spread of new ideas as postulated by Rogers (2003); there was a negative correlation between graph density and the number of vertices (publications); and there was a positive correlation between AVGD and the number of vertices (publications).

Research limitations/implications

It is highly improbable that a “pure” or “random” sample of publications could be collected because it is highly probable that there exists no known, i.e. identifiable and verifiable “true” population of works that include gamification in the title.

Practical implications

The study findings have three major implications. The first takes in scholarly communication and the development of scientific knowledge. The findings imply that scholarly communication follows patterns similar to the adoption of innovation. The second implication deals with the topic known as “gamification.” The study findings imply that scholars believe gamification is worthy of serious study as the network of scholars studying gamification is increasing. The third implication of our study relates to the methods used to study scholarly communication. The study findings imply that network analysis can be used to understand how a new concept can be vetted by the scientific community.

Originality/value

The citation network analysis of this study provided tangible evidence of how new concepts are vetted, i.e. adopted. Citation network studies thus offer promise for a deeper understanding of scholarly communication and the adoption of new research topics and fields of inquiry. In addition, the findings indicate that “gamification” is a potentially fruitful topic for scholars to continue to explore.

Keywords

Citation

Harman, K., Koohang, A. and Paliszkiewicz, J. (2014), "Scholarly interest in gamification: a citation network analysis", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 114 No. 9, pp. 1438-1452. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-07-2014-0208

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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