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Research Proposal Project

Research Proposal Project:

Is Gaming Software an Effective Instructional Tool: A Quantitative Study


Elif Gokbel, Rachel Kalberer, and Anne Rackow (Group Eurus)
Consulting Group: Zephyr (Chunhua Xiong, Mark Dunn and Kasey Dickenson)
GREV 701-Research Methods & Design
Dr. Gary D. Shank
June 05, 2014

Research Proposal Project


Proposal Summary:
The study will explore the effect of using video games as an instructional
treatment versus using lecture as an instructional treatment. The study will take place in
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. Three separate public schools will be
used in the study, more specifically fourth grade classes. The schools will be from varied
areas, rural, suburban, and urban, to avoid location variables. The students in the study
will be split up into two different groups. One group will receive lecture to learn about
the water cycle while another group will play a video game to learn about the water cycle
The students will receive their assigned instructional treatment and take a post-test to
assess their knowledge acquisition. Using appropriate statistical methods, we will
evaluate the scores and decide if there is a significant difference between the two group
scores. This will give us an answer to our question regarding the effectiveness of video
gaming software as an instructional method.
Research Question:
Understanding the specific nature of gaming software and how they affect
learning is important since children and adults are now being required to interact with
computers in a variety of settings, including educational ones, due to societys reliance on
computers. The majority of researchers discuss the influence of digital games on learning
engagement. In this study we will investigate the effectiveness of digital-gaming based
learning (DGBL) to more properly utilize these programs. In accordance with this
purpose, our research question is: Will students who receive video game based instruction
score higher on a post-test than students who receive lecture based instruction?

Research Proposal Project


Hypotheses:
The student group receiving video game based instruction with have higher scores
on a post-test than the student group that does not have access to gaming software and
must learn the content by listening to a lecture.
Resources:
Pillay, Hitendra. (2002). An investigation of cognitive processes engaged in by
recreational computer game players: implications for skills of the future. Journal
of Research on Technology in Education. 34(3). 336-350 Retrieved
from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/10069/
The study identified the effects of two different types of recreational computer
games on computer based instructional materials and qualitatively investigated the
cognitive processes engaged during the game play. Thirty-six students from ages 14 to
16 were in the study. There were three groups, two experimental and one control group.
The first group was the control group and only completed the tasks in the educational
software. The second group (EXPT1) played one recreational computer game and then
completed tasks in the educational software. The third group (EXPT2) played a different
recreational computer game and then completed the tasks in the educational software.
The participants completed three different tasks and were ranked on how well they did on
them. The software EXPT1 used was a puzzle solving game. The software EXPT2 used
was a 3-D interactive game that involved strategy and problem solving. The player had
to get through various uncertain situations. The results suggest that recreational computer
games may influence students performance on tasks that are technology based. After
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Research Proposal Project


analyzing the data, the experimenter found a significant difference between all three
groups on questions one and three, but not two. It seems that playing recreational games
may increase how long it takes to solve certain tasks efficiently. It also seems that the
type of game played may influence results. EXPT2 showed significant differences in
solving the tasks compared to the control group.
Martindale, T., Pearson, C., Curda, L. K., Pilcher, J. (2005). Effects of an online
instructional application on reading and mathematics standardized test scores.
Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 37(4). 349-360 Retrieved
fromhttps://resources.oncourse.iu.edu/access/content/group/SU08-IN-EDUCY520-8250/Articles%20for%20Y520/Martindale.pdf
This study explored using a software application called FCAT Explorer in Florida
schools. The software was based off of the Sunshine State Standards. It was an
interactive application that reinforced concepts on the state standardized tests. One group
of schools used the app and another group of schools did not use the groups. The sample
of schools using the app and not using the app was demographically and socially similar.
The fourth grade reading scores showed statistically significant differences between the
classes in the study and those that were not. The schools that used FCAT Explorer scored
better. The fifth grade mathematic scores showed statistically significant difference
between the classes in the study and those that were not. The schools that used FCAT
Explorer scored better. The eighth grade and tenth grade mathematics scores between the
classes in the study and those not in the study were not significantly significant.
Chuang, T-Y., & Chen, W-F. (2009). Effect of computer-based video games on children:

Research Proposal Project


an experimental study. Educational Technology Society. 12(2) 1-10. Retrieved
from http://ifets.info/journals/12_2/1.pdf
This study explored using a video game to teach students about fire-fighting to
examine the effectiveness of video games as an instructional tool. In this research study,
two different instructional materials were used. The first was computer-assisted
instruction and the second was a computer-based video game. One hundred and fifteen
3rd grade students were split up into separate groups receiving one of two instructional
treatments about fire fighting. One group received computer-assisted instruction while
the other played the video game. The students in the computer-assisted instruction
treatment interacted with computers with a text-based instruction. The content was on a
webpage. The second group played Fire Captain. The students went through a tutorial
and learned what they needed to know about firefighting. The students had to solve a life
like problem, putting out fires in the game. Following the instruction, students took a
post-test containing twenty-eight questions. There was a mixture of multiple choice,
matching, and application questions. There was a significant difference in the post-test
scores between the group using the CAI program versus the group using the video game.
The scores showed that the video game instruction was more effective than the CAI
instruction.
Methods:
1) Whom are you using for participants?
This study will be completed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and surrounding
districts, and will include participants from 3 public schools. We will use two fourth
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Research Proposal Project


grade classrooms from each elementary school. We will select one urban public school
from Pittsburgh, one suburban school district outside of Pittsburgh, such as North
Allegheny, and one rural school district outside of Pittsburgh such as Derry Area School
District. In the end we will only be comparing students who received gaming instruction
and those who received traditional lecture instruction. We will not compare across
settings rather, the inclusion of multiple school districts in different settings is to diversify
our samples.
2) What are your independent/dependent/target/predictor variables?
The independent variable will be the instructional treatment 1.) lesson delivered
using gaming software or 2.) traditional lesson through verbal instruction. Our dependent
variable will be the scores on the post-test.
3) Are there any specific time issues in your design?
The timeline for the study will follow the academic year. We will be mindful of
school breaks and holidays when planning all activities and data collection. Additionally,
we will plan activities and data collection around academic quarters to line up with the
lesson plans, grading, and schedules of the teachers.
4) Are there any specific place/location issues in your design?
The study will take place in Pittsburgh, the city of study for the researchers, and
surrounding school districts in order to avoid travel conflicts. This will also allow the
researchers to avoid city/state as a possible variable contributing to differences in the
results.

Research Proposal Project


5) How will you conduct your research; which of the following will you include -We will conduct our research by identifying basic statistical information and
testing a hypothesis. We will enter the scores children received on the post-test into
SPSS. We will run descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation of the scores
as well as the N for each group.
To test our hypothesis we will perform an Independent-Samples T Test. The two
groups will be: 1.) Students who received video game based instruction 2.) students who
received traditional lecture based instruction. We will assess whether the difference in the
mean test scores is statistically significant.
Discussion:
We believe that the use of gaming software as an instructional treatment will show
to be an effective teaching technique. We hypothesize that the students who learn from
participation in the gaming software will perform better and have a higher mean score on
the content quiz than the students who participate in the traditional lecture style
instruction. As this is a topic of great interest in the educational community, we will share
our results in a variety of education research journals. Depending on the results we will
suggest relevant follow-up studies. Should our hypothesis be correct, we will outline
suggested next steps on how to implement technology into the classroom. We will make
our video game instructional technique publically available and include a detailed
explanation of how to replicate our approach. Additionally, we would wish to perform
our own follow up studies to see if gaming curriculum had varying levels of effectiveness
by gender, grade level, and subject matter.

Research Proposal Project