Gamification - Make Research Fun!

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Gamification is the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage respondents. Using gaming techniques in research is fun because respondents enjoy overcoming the challenges and puzzles that they are presented with. 

At the design stage a standard question can simply be turned into a gamified one. By this we mean taking a standard survey question and finding a way to make it more personal and fun. Take the examples below, one is a standard question (and dare I say it boring), the other is more fun and thought provoking. 

Consider the following pairs of questions: 

Standard: How likely are you to recommend the following brands to friends and family? Gamified: If you were having a dinner party, which of these brands would you serve to your friends and family? 

S: How likely are you to purchase each of the following brands?
G: If you had only £10 in your wallet, which of the following brands would you buy? 

S: Have you purchased any of the following products?
G: Which of the following products are in your fridge right now? 

Here are examples of techniques which can be used to change the style of standard questions: 

1. Personalisation: Make the question seem like it is about the respondent. ("If you had to paint your room in one of these colors which one would you pick?")
2. Emotionalisation: Triggering some latent feelings that would encourage respondents to really think about the question. ("What would you wear on a first date?")
3. Projection: Asking to imagine something in the mind's eye of someone else. (“Imagine you are the boss of a company. Your job is now to evaluate this new product…”)
4. Forced imaginary situations: (“Imagine you spilt coffee all over your trousers and had to quickly go out and buy a replacement pair...”)
5. Use of out and out fantasy: (“What would you wear if you had all the money in the world?”) 

It has been proven that with these techniques respondents spend more time thinking about questions and provide longer and more considered responses. 

Moving away from the actual questionnaire design some of the game mechanics are already widely applied to surveys, for example, using progress bars to visualize progress, sliders and drag and drop questions. Setting up the survey like a quiz is another way to add gamification to it.

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