New Article published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR)!
(10.09.2021) Our article "Conceptual Ambiguity Surrounding Gamification and Serious Games in Health Care: Literature Review and Development of Game-Based Intervention Reporting Guidelines (GAMING)" by Simon Warsinsky, Manuel Schmidt-Kraepelin, Sascha Rank, Scott Thiebes and Ali Sunyaev was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research and is now online.
Our article "Conceptual Ambiguity Surrounding Gamification and Serious Games in Health Care: Literature Review and Development of Game-Based Intervention Reporting Guidelines (GAMING)" by Simon Warsinsky, Manuel Schmidt-Kraepelin, Sascha Rank, Scott Thiebes und Ali Sunyaev was accepted in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) and is now freely available via open access: https://www.jmir.org/2021/9/e30390.
BACKGROUND: In health care, the use of game-based interventions to increase motivation, engagement, and overall sustainability of health behaviors is steadily becoming more common. The most prevalent types of game-based interventions in health care research are gamification and serious games. Various researchers have discussed substantial conceptual differences between these 2 concepts, supported by empirical studies showing differences in the effects on specific health behaviors. However, researchers also frequently report cases in which terms related to these 2 concepts are used ambiguously or even interchangeably. It remains unclear to what extent existing health care research explicitly distinguishes between gamification and serious games and whether it draws on existing conceptual considerations to do so.
OBJECTIVE: This study aims to address this lack of knowledge by capturing the current state of conceptualizations of gamification and serious games in health care research. Furthermore, we aim to provide tools for researchers to disambiguate the reporting of game-based interventions.
METHODS: We used a 2-step research approach. First, we conducted a systematic literature review of 206 studies, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research and its sister journals, containing terms related to gamification, serious games, or both. We analyzed their conceptualizations of gamification and serious games, as well as the distinctions between the two concepts. Second, based on the literature review findings, we developed a set of guidelines for researchers reporting on game-based interventions and evaluated them with a group of 9 experts from the field.
RESULTS: Our results show that less than half of the concept mentions are accompanied by an explicit definition. To distinguish between the 2 concepts, we identified four common approaches: implicit distinction, synonymous use of terms, serious games as a type of gamified system, and distinction based on the full game dimension. Our Game-Based Intervention Reporting Guidelines (GAMING) consist of 25 items grouped into four topics: conceptual focus, contribution, mindfulness about related concepts, and individual concept definitions.
CONCLUSIONS: Conceptualizations of gamification and serious games in health care literature are strongly heterogeneous, leading to conceptual ambiguity. Following the GAMING can support authors in rigorous reporting on study results of game-based interventions.