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CHI 2015 Workshop

Researching Gamification: Strategies, Opportunities, Challenges, Ethics

The papers for the workshop can be downloaded as a complete bundle below, or accessed individually from the following list.

Full Papers

Max V. Birk, Regan L. Mandryk, Jason Bowey and Benjamin Buttlar

The Effects of Adding Premise and Backstory to Psychological Tasks

Psychological tasks are used for assessment, induction, and treatment in both research and therapeutic contexts. Adding game-elements (e.g., leaderboards, premise, or points) could be beneficial for participant motivation; however, it has been argued that the value of gamification could come at a cost to experience or reliability of the task. We replicated four psychological tasks and added premise and backstory to investigate the effect of gamification on task performance and player experience. Our results show that adding game elements has the potential to negatively influence both player experience and performance.

Paper | Presenting Author: Max V. Birk


Kristen Dergousoff and Regan L. Mandryk

Mobile Gamification for Experiment Data Collection: Leveraging the Freemium Model

Classic ways of gathering data on human behaviour are time-consuming, costly, and are subject to limited participant pools. Gamification provides a motivation to participate, but also requires the development of specialized, research-question specific games that can be costly to produce. Our solution leverages the popular Freemium model of play to motivate voluntary participation by rewarding players for participation in microexperiments with in-game powerups, using a robust framework to study multiple unrelated research questions within the same system. We deployed our game on the Android store and compared it to a gamified laboratory version and a non-gamified laboratory version, and found that players who used powerups were motivated to do the microexperiments.

Paper | Presenting Author:  Regan L. Mandryk


Casper Harteveld, Steven C. Sutherland and Gillian Smith

Design Considerations for Creating Game-Based Social Experiments

In this paper, we explore the topic of games as research methods, which has received little attention and has much promise. More specifically, our aim is to provide insight into what design considerations are made for creating game-based social experiments. In order to achieve this, we discuss our experiences of translating a traditional experiment focused on the decoy effect into a game-based experiment. Our preliminary results suggest that monetary incentives with no real-world consequences can affect behavior even when time delays with real-world consequences were a competing factor. This has implications for how research can be gamified.

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Nam Wook Kim, Jihee Kim, Juho Kim, Chang Won Lee, Eun-Young Ko and Jonghyuk Jung

BudgetWiser: Gamification Design Opportunities in the Government Budget Domain

In our research project, dubbed BudgetWiser, we focus on the government budget, one of the most important policy documents of a government. Our goal is to increase public interests in the budget and encourage public participation in the budgeting process by leveraging open government data. We envision interactive tools in which taxpayers’ budget navigation and sensemaking activities lead to meaningful resources for future taxpayers. A primary design goal is incentivizing taxpayers – often with low interests and awareness of the budget – to engage in such activities. We believe gamification can provide a viable solution to our challenge. We share some design lessons from our exploration in the budget domain with two prototype systems: Factful and BudgetMap. In the workshop, we hope to discuss various ways to incorporate gamification into our systems to encourage public participation.

Paper | Presenting Author:  Nam Wook Kim


Tae Wan Kim

Gamification Ethics: Exploitation and Manipulation

Two main accusations made against gamification are exploitation and manipulation [3, 4, 5]. I explain under what circumstances gamification can be exploitative or manipulative. I maintain that gamification is characteristically vulnerable to an expressive form of exploitation and a non-reason-tracking form of manipulation. I suggest solutions.

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Reuben Kirkham

BlobSnake: Gamification of Feature Selection for Human Activity Recognition

This paper discusses nascent work at Newcastle University’s Digital Interaction Group, focused upon gamifying feature selection for Human Activity Recognition (HAR). The goals are two fold; the first is to mitigate the current need for a HAR expert to develop a feature selection for novel activity recognition problems, whilst the second is to address the need for science communication of this domain, especially in the legal setting. The initial game that has been developed – BlobSnake – is also briefly presented.

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Effie L-C. Law, Dawn E. Watkins, Joanna P.L. Barwick and Elee Kirk

Gamifying Research on Children’s Understanding of Law in their Lives

Based on the assumptions that games are inherently motivating and that typically children are familiar with games, a game is being developed as a research tool to capture how far children aged 7-11 years old understand law in their everyday lives. The game consists of legal scenarios in four different settings. The participatory design approach with the traditional focus group technique has been used to gather children’s feedback on the draft scenarios. We also reflect on strategies, opportunities, challenges, and ethics concerning gamified research.

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Pascal Lessel and Maximilian Altmeyer

Experiences with a Gamified Online Questionnaire for Crowdsourcing Human Recycling Capabilities

In this paper we share our experiences with an online questionnaire which had as its main goal to crowd-source how people classify various objects for recycling. To keep people engaged to complete it, and to assess gamification elements we planned to use in a persuasive system for this task later on, we had already integrated these elements into the questionnaire. Besides positive feedback from some participants, we also learned that there are drawbacks and pitfalls with such elements that can be problematic depending on the hypotheses to be addressed with the questionnaire.

Paper | Presenting Author:  Pascal Lessel


Marigo Raftopoulos and Steffen P. Walz

It’s Complicated: The ethics of gamified labor

An increasing number of applications are using gamification in research and participatory problem solving, however several ethical issues are beginning to emerge that may compromise their integrity. Our paper highlights the ethical issues of using gamification to extract unpaid labor, and the use of persuasive gamification design practices that can potentially be considered exploitative. We conclude by suggesting the collaborative development of an industry framework based on a value-sensitive design to overcome these issues.

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Simon Scheider, Peter Kiefer, Paul Weiser, Martin Raubal and Christian Sailer

Score design for meaningful gamification

In this paper, we provide an overview on the design of scores that can be used in gamification and sketch how user behavior can be influenced by design and communication.

Paper | Presenting Author:  Peter Kiefer


Noopur Singh, Hylke W. van Dijk, Adelita V. Ranchor and Robbert Sanderman

Family Support to Improve Physical Activity in COPD: Game as a Research Tool

Games provide an effective research tool to investigate the interactions and responses among research subjects in a prospective situation. This research investigates the scope of involving family in goal setting, feedback and persuasion to improve physical activity of COPD patients by enhancing their self-efficacy. In this paper, we present a research context that can benefit from using game as a research tool.

Paper | Presenting Author:  Noopur Singh


Ayoung Suh

Measuring User Engagement in an Enterprise Gamified System

The main purpose of enterprise gamification is to increase employees’ engagement in work-related activities, such as knowledge sharing, sales performance, idea competition, and training and education, by using game design elements. Currently, researchers are calling for systematic examination of how gamification ideas are executed in the workplace. Despite increasing scholarly and practical attention to the effectiveness of gamified systems in organizations, the question of how to measure the user engagement within an enterprise gamified system remains unclear. This study raises a methodological issue regarding different approaches to operationalizing user engagement. By testing the proposed model that explains the relationships between game dynamics and user engagement with empirical data collected from 128 users of an enterprise gamified system, this study shows how the effects of different game dynamics on user engagement vary depending on the operationalization of user engagement.

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Rob van Roy and Bieke Zaman

Moving Beyond the Effectiveness of Gamification

The recent booming popularity of gamification has incited researchers to investigate the effectiveness of this technique. However, by identifying different possible implications for both user and context, this paper wants to move beyond effectiveness and to elaborate on different ethical ramifications of the use of gamification. The paper concludes with formulating some guidelines for future research.

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