Gaming Research with Unrealistic Goals
Dede, C. (2011). Developing a research agenda for educational games and simulations. Computer games and instruction, pp. 233-250. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Dede used this article to plot out an agenda for educational gaming research going forward. He lays out five major principles for researchers to follow in order to create meaningful research in the field of educational gaming. These principles are usable knowledge, collective research, what works, treatment effects, and scalability. While not structured in a standard article format, Dede still manages to cover many of the positive effects and challenges of each of these five principles.
If one steps back to think about these principles, they appear rather obvious. Usable knowledge is ensuring that the thing you are researching has impact, particularly for informing practice in the field. A good article will state this as 'significance' or 'purpose of study.' Collective research involves building on the whole of the knowledge of the field and working as a large group to move it forward. That is all well and good.... provided the interest, support, and funding is there for this comprehensive study to take place. 'What works' tackles the idea that not every concept can be effective in every situation. This principle sort of counteracts the 'generalizability' that we usually look for in studies, but makes a valid point that many products and processes are specific and not all are suitable to be generalized. The fourth principle, treatment effects, makes another good point in saying that there should be more value to a study than whether or not there is a difference between original and treatment group. In a perfect world, this would absolutely be the case. The final principle, scalability, mostly speaks for itself in the way that it ensures gaming research projects can be scaled either up or down and still be equally effective.
In a world without constraints, these are absolutely great principles to live by and set research goals with. But because we live in an imperfect world with lack of agreement, lack of funding, and lack of collaboration, researchers frequently have to do the best they have with whatever resources are available. I appreciate this author's reminder of the end goals of research and how to achieve them, but at the same time feel that there is a disconnect from reality with the way they were laid out without a process of how to actually achieve them.