Serious Games Analytics

Part of the series Advances in Game-Based Learning pp 31-55

A Meta-Analysis of Data Collection in Serious Games Research

  • Shamus P. SmithAffiliated withSchool of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The University of Newcastle Email author 
  • , Karen BlackmoreAffiliated withSchool of Design, Communication and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle
  • , Keith NesbittAffiliated withSchool of Design, Communication and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle

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Serious game analytics share many of the challenges of data analytics for computer systems involving human activity. Key challenges include how to collect data without influencing its generation, and more fundamentally, how to collect and validate data from humans where a primary emphasis is on what people are thinking and doing. This chapter presents a meta-analysis of data collection activities in serious games research. A systematic review was conducted to consider metrics and measures across the human–computer interaction, gaming, simulation, and virtual reality literature. The review focus was on the temporal aspect of data collection to identify if data is collected before, during, or after gameplay and if so what fundamental processes are used to collect data. The review found that the majority of data collection occurred post-game, then pre-game, and finally during gameplay. This reflects traditional difficulties of capturing gameplay data and highlights opportunities for new data capture approaches oriented towards data analytics. Also we identify how researchers gather data to answer fundamental questions about the efficacy of serious games and the design elements that might underlie their efficacy. We suggest that more standardized and better-validated data collection techniques, that allow comparing and contrasting outcomes between studies, would be beneficial.


Data collection Serious games Meta-review Data analytics