The search for academic articles.

Educational Video Game Design: A Review of the Literature

Dondlinger, M. J. (2007). Educational video game design: A review of the literature. Journal of applied educational technology, 4(1), 21-31.


Searched for ‘Video Game Design’ on Google Scholar, it is a journal paper.

Why do I think it’s an academic article?

  • It can be found on Google Scholar.
  • It was published in an academic journal.
  • The author has a long-standing career in academics.
  • Stored in an academic database.
  • Has a great deal of references.
  • It follows the traditional structure of an academic article (title/author, abstract, introduction, etc.)

There are 35 references that have been made at the end of the paper. Google Scholar also states that the article has been cited 406 times.

Personally I would be interested in reading the article simply because it is relevant to video games which are a hobby of mine. Not only that but it does relate to the research that I would like to carry out for my project.

Heuristic evaluation for games: usability principles for video game design

Pinelle, D., Wong, N., & Stach, T. (2008, April). Heuristic evaluation for games: usability principles for video game design. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1453-1462). ACM.


Searched for ‘Video Game Interaction Design’ on Google Scholar, it is a conference paper.

Why do I think it’s an academic article?

  • It can be found on Google Scholar.
  • All 3 authors have long-standing careers in academics.
  • Stored in an digital library with other computer related literature.
  • Has a great deal of references.
  • Presented at an academic conference.

Unfortunately I cannot comment on the structuring of the article due to the fact it requires payment to view. The articles website does provide an abstract, references, and citations though. The article provides 36 references and according to Google Scholar has been cited 366 times.

Personally I am interested in reading the article because it directly relates to my project proposal and will be useful when I’m actually doing my project. The only reason I wouldn’t use it is because it has a paywall before you are able to read it. This seems to be a common theme for design related articles though.


The search for credible evidence


Topic 1 – Digital Citizenship

Source 1 – Digital Citizenship: Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior

Search Terms: Digital Citizenship
How you found it: Searched on Google Scholar
Who created it: Mike Ribble, Gerald Bailey, Tweed Ross.
When was it created: Sep 2004
What type of ‘publication’ is it: Academic Journal

Adds credibility:

  • Well-known authors in this topic.

Detracts credibility:

  • Not recent.
  • Not peer-reviewed.

Source 2 – What Is Digital Citizenship?

Search Terms: Digital Citizenship
How you found it: Searched on YouTube
Who created it: Cyberwise
When was it created: Jun 2015
What type of ‘publication’ is it: YouTube Video

Adds credibility:

  • Recently published.
  • Positive Like/Dislike ratio.
  • Positive commets.

Detracts credibility:

  • Low view count.

Source 3 – Why Donald Trump is making it hard to teach digital citizenship.

Search Terms: Digital citizenship news articles.
How you found it: Google search.
Who created it: Diana Graber, Co-Founder of CyberWise
When was it created: May 2016
What type of ‘publication’ is it: News Article

Adds credibility:

  • Recently Published.
  • Published on a reputable source.

Detracts credibility:

  • Perhaps politcally movtivated.

Topic 2 – Virtualisation Technology

Source 1 – Intel Virtualization Technology

Search Terms: Virtualisation Technology
How you found it: Search on Google Scholar
Who created it: R. Uhlig, G. Neiger, G. Rodgers (All work for Intel)
When was it created: May 2005
What type of ‘publication’ is it: Academic Journal / White Paper?

Adds credibility:

  • Published by experts in the field.
  • Funded by the relevant company.

Detracts credibility:

  • Published by the company for the company.
  • Not Published Recently

Source 2 – x86 Virtualization

Search Terms: Virtualization Technology
How you found it: Search on Wikipedia, pre-selected result.
Who created it: Many Wikipedia contributors – Originated from user ‘Brouhaha’
When was it created: Sep 2004 – Has since had many revisions
What type of ‘publication’ is it: Wikipedia Article

Adds credibility:

  • Many contributors
  • Published on a well-known website.
  • A great deal of references provided.

Detracts credibility:

  • Contributors may not know the subject well.
  • Contributors may tamper with information.

Source 3 – These are the 10 coolest Virtualization Technology offering Companies!

Search Terms: Virtualization Technology WordPress Blog
How you found it: Google Search
Who created it: ‘Storage Servers’
When was it created: Feb 2016
What type of ‘publication’ is it: Commercial Blog – Opinion piece

Adds credibility:

  • The article is relevant to the company that is publishing it.

Detracts credibility:

  • Published by a fairly unknown company.
  • No references or hard evidence provided.
  • For the most part opinion-based.

Experimental Research

What is it? How does it work?

Experimental research is the process of resolving a research problem through the use of experimentation.

First, a hypothesis is formed to bring the research problem down to a testable statement or question. This could be something so simple as “What soft drink creates the largest geyser when mentos are added?”. This provides us with what exactly needs to be measured and manipulated to find useful data and eventually conclusions. These measurements or variables are categorised into 3 different groups. Independent, dependent and controlled. There are also confounding variables which are usually not identified till after a first set of experiments are conducted and analysed.

  • The dependent variables are the results that are recorded during or after the experiment. From our example this would be things such as geyser height and width.
  • An independent variable is the variable that will be manipulated or altered by the researcher to affect the dependent variables. From our example this would be the soft drink that was used in each test.
  • Controlled variables are variables which are recorded and kept the same across multiple experiments as a means to avoid random results (confounding variables). From our example this could be the amount of liquid in the bottle, the amount of times it is shaken or how many mentos are added.
  • Confounding variables are variables that most-likely weren’t considered before testing that ‘pollute’ or affect the results of the experiment . They come about as a result of poor variable control and can greatly affect the validity of the research. From our example it could be something like not having the different soft drinks cooled to the same temperature as this would affect the rate of reaction.

From this testing we gain raw data and from here we look to analyse what we have recorded and form conclusions to answer, prove or falsify our original hypothesis. Although if the analysed data is random and doesn’t provide useful conclusions further testing may be required to find what could be causing this.

This is experimental research in a general sense but it can be done in a great deal of ways, I could go on for quite a bit longer about group sampling and the different experimental designs but you can read about those on this interesting website I found here. – For scientific experiments. – For social-scientific experiments.

What kinds of questions/problems might it be useful for?

To put it simply, any question or problem that testing can support, prove or disprove. Beyond this it depends what kind of information is needed to resolve the question or problem. This is where the way the research is conducted might be different and very much ties into the different experimental designs that I have linked above.

For example using true experimental design is useful for scientific research where variables that can be easily manipulated and controlled (such as chemistry or physics). Though inversely this means it would be a bad fit for sociology or psychology as it can be difficult to control or even account for certain variables. That’s where quasi-experimental design comes into play, where it it is known that you cannot control every possible variable but you acknowledge that and produce results that are as good as they are going to get.

In a way, it could also help to reform better questions as having a research problem or question that isn’t testable might not be ideal.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the approach?

Once again in varies in what experimental designs are used so it can vary.

It’s greatest strength is the fact that if the entire process is done right and the controlled and confounding  (whether you know it or not) variables are the same you will always produce the same results.

Obviously if the nature of the research problem is that it is not testable by any means then the approach isn’t going to work.

Convenient control, compared with other research methods, experimental research on the object, environmental conditions have a higher degree of control.

The shortcomings of Experimental Research are mainly man-made, because there are human subjective factors exist, people will perceive the objective facts as they wish to see them. Such as the same user may be in accordance with their usual habits to get completely different results

How could it be used in IT research? Any Examples?

A difficult question.

In terms of quasi-experimentation, maybe recording user feedback on changes that have been implemented in a system over time to see whether the end user feels the system has improved.

In terms of true experimentation perhaps on a smaller and less formal scale debugging and testing could count. As you have a problem that needs to be resolved and you are changing and testing singular things at a time to see whether it has a positive effect. Also from that experience it would help you create more accurate predictions of other problems you are trying to resolve in the future.

Ontology and Epistemology Cont.


After the discussion that took place in our last class my understanding of ontology and epistemology have been broadened. I did a bit of research online before class but I was still having trouble fully understanding it.

Clare took us through what they both meant to her and created two continuum’s on the board that represent the different ontological and epistemological viewpoints/approaches that exist.

ontology epistemology.jpg


Ontology is about, what exists or what is real. When represented on a continuum there is realism and nominalism at opposing ends and constructivism which is found in between them.

Realism is the belief that everything exists objectively and we all experience it in the same way. Personally I would consider this for the most part my own viewpoint and I would identify as a realist for a great majority of the time.

On the other end there is nominalism which is the belief that everything that we experience is subjective and there are no universal things in our shared existence. I have to say I don’t understand nominalism completely as it goes against the grain of what I personally believe in.

In between both of them lies contructivism which refers to things that are socially constructed. This might be physical objects such as money or abstract concepts such as social hierarchy that have purely been given value or meaning to by a society or a culture as a whole. This is another viewpoint that I can relate to.

My own ontological viewpoint would be somewhere between realism and constructivism but more leaning towards realism.


Epistemology is about how do we know what is real and how do we know that it is valid. When represented on a continuum there is positivism and anti-positivism at opposing ends and interpretivism which is found in the middle of them..

Postivism is the belief that what is a universal truth are things that can be tested and repeatedly proven through measurement and observation (which sounds like the use of the scientific methodolgy). Postivism is something that I can definitely agree with.

Anti-positivism is the belief that each persons perception of what is real is valid. Much like nominalism this is something that I have trouble understanding. Not having universal facts is something that I find uncomfortable.

Interpretivism is the belief that the combined perceptions that have been formed between a researcher and their subject of study can be accepted as valid. I can understand how this could be useful in social sciences where having a controlled environment and variables is difficult to accomplish.

Research Paradigms

Going beyond this she showed us how when ontological and epistemological viewpoints are combined they create something called a research paradigm. Which helps us to understand what kind of methodology we should be using based off of the problem that is at hand.

When realism and positivism are combined we have the scientific research paradigm. This is proving objective fact / universal truths through repeating tests in a controlled environment (the scientific method.

When constructivism and interpretivism are combined we have the social scientific paradigm. This is proving facts / universal truths through qualitative research methods such as surveys, case studies, focus groups etc.

When nominalism and anti-positivism are combined we have the creative paradigm. This is about proving or expressing personal truths through the creation of art such as writing, painting and music.

Clare also mentioned the design science research paradigm which sits between the scientific and social scientific paradigms. This is used in industries such as engineering and IT. It reminds me of the system development life-cycle from the systems development papers I have done. This is more than likely the approach I will be taking during my project in the 2nd semester.


This class was mentally strenuous for me I have to say. I find discussing these sort of abstract topics fairly difficult and I just sit there like a sponge trying to take it all in. This might have to do with the fact I’m more of a realist than anything else. Although there was a great deal of thinking involved with this particular class, I am looking forward to the next.


Ontology vs Epistemology

First of all, here are some definitions from taken straight from google, just to help me with the questions that will be following them.


noun: ontology; plural noun: ontologies

  • the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
  • a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them.
noun: epistemology
  • the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.


These have been answered without looking beyond the definitions that I have provided above, which for me are hard to understand even by themselves. I’m definitely not 100% confident that my answers are correct though.

What is ontology? How is it relevant to research?

I would say that ontology in regards to research would perhaps have something to do with how ones own life experience and beliefs affects the conclusions that are drawn from the researching process. Perhaps it has something to do with subjective vs objective truths

What is epistemology? How is it relevant to research?

I think epistemology when it comes to research has something to do with whether the research that you are carrying out and the knowledge that is formed from that research can be validated and accepted as fact. It has to do with whether you have carried out your methods systematically in a controlled environment and the information that has come from that reinforces or debunks a certain opinion.

What is the connection between ontology and epistemology in a research context?

I think it mostly has to do with keeping your research as neutral and controlled as possible. Also keeping your biases in check when it comes to research that you are carrying out.

I found a couple of links here with information on both in regards to research which was a good read after answering these difficult questions.



What do you think ‘research’ is?

My own personal definition of research before we discussed it in class is the search for additional knowledge or understanding of a particular topic or subject. I’ve always thought of it in a more personal perspective though, as in, to gain pre-existing knowledge for ones self as opposed to expanding the existing pool of knowledge on a subject. Which is a bit selfish now thinking about it in retrospect.

Do you think you will ever need research skills?

Beyond my current capabilities, without a doubt. Especially for my project in semester 2, it will definitely help to provide structure to what I’m trying to accomplish regardless of what I choose to do. Especially the systematic approach that it provides as I usually struggle with managing and prioritising tasks effectively.

What do you think a research journal is and who is it written for?

I think a research journal is a piece of formal documentation that describes an individuals or groups thought processes and methodologies and the conclusions that are drawn from them. It is written for oneself but once published it is useful for all others that are interested or invested in the subject field. I don’t think I would’ve been able to come up with such a definition before our first lecture though.

What is plagiarism?

It is the act of taking and using another’s work without acknowledging or crediting their contributions and then submitting it as your own.

Why is it important to avoid it?

Whilst I think it is important to stand on the shoulders of the giants before you and not disregard pre-existing knowledge on a subject. One should give credit where credit is due for other’s hard work and accomplishments.

The reason why one should avoid it is because if you publish a piece of work that is plagiarised it would lose it’s credibility and damage the creators reputation. It would also be considered disrespectful to not credit the original author as well. Lastly, you could also be breaking the law if the work was covered by copyright.