The purpose of this report is to present a critical review on an article based on information literacy in playing video games in context of England, UK. Here, the strength, weakness, positive and negative aspects of the article is assessed.
It also evaluates the author content, presentation, analysis and explanation to determine the value and originality of the article. The main theme of the article shows its inclination around the need for developing and designing games based on information literacy to develop information skills and problem solving skills through playing videogames.
The purpose of the article by Gumulak and Webber (2011) seek to identify the motivation of young players towards video gaming and to what extent these are perceived to promote learning and information literacy.
The heading of the article is appropriate and abstract is simple to simple to understand as it indicates the overall the article written by Gumulak and Webber that aims to identify the motivational aspects behind playing video games by young people and the impact of playing video games on facilitating learning and information literacy.
The article addressed the information literacy through video games from the point of view of young users to provide number of implications for the use of video gaming platform to build information literacy.
The researcher attempts to address the research problems related to value and reason to play video games, interaction with games , texts information search and criteria for choosing games and perceived learning though these games. It is clear from the research questions that this is not a plain subject matter. However, the author initiate by reviewing the existing research related to gaming, literacy and learning.
It can be noted that a good research article has proper sections named as introduction, literature review, research methodology, data analysis and findings, discussion and conclusion. This study reflects a well-designed short introduction, literature review and research methodology, but there is no proper segregation on analysis and discussion.
The consideration of different researchers and scholars in literature review helps to review the literature review on the impact of video games in learning and information literacy and contribute in the existing literature significantly. It can be said that the strength of this article is that it author has included different market researchers on the similar research topic from the past to add credibility to the research.
In this study, qualitative approach was considered by Gumulak and Webber (2011) as they focused on interview to collect the required data. The researcher has formulated four research questions. The sampling method was non-probability sampling method which is convenience sampling.
For this, an interview was performed over a convenience sample of 28 young people aged between 12 and 19 and resident in Northern England who enjoy playing video games. This includes the student participant selected on volunteer basis.
This is an adequate sample size considering the qualitative nature of study. However, Marshall et al. (2013) argue that a larger sample aids the analysis of data with an effective distribution of sample when looking into likely interaction involving age and video gaming. In relation to the used methodology, it can be stated that the use of interview is significant to determine qualitative data that can be useful to develop qualitative understanding of the research topic.
Thematic based analysis was quite helpful to analyse the qualitative data by developing appropriate themes to achieve the research objectives. But at the same time, Robinson (2014) argued that the use of qualitative data can be misleading due to focus on smaller sample size and lack of obtaining generalized results.
At the same time, it is also found in the study of Mekler et al. (2014) highlight that quantitative approach could be more effective to know the views and opinions of the young people regarding impact of video games in facilitating learning and information literacy.
At the same time, this study also focuses only on convenience sampling that may cause bias of researcher in selecting the research participants. In relation to this, it can be also argued by Robinson (2014) that the use of random sampling can be more effective to avoid any bias of the researcher in selecting the sample.
As the study highlight the video gaming to continue the popularity among the young players and examines the motivation factors to play video games but it did not describe the importance of positive and negative characteristics associate with players in video gaming.
The authors consider intrinsic motivation such as entertainment. On the different side, the article by Reid (2012) condemned the motivation factor such as fun as the author states that regular players of video games are influenced by intrinsic motivators whereas only periodic players are driven by extrinsic aspects of motivation.
Thus, getting insight from this the article of Gumulak and Webber (2011) do not present any kind of information or any sorting of its sample size for the type of player included in the interview method. Thus, this is a weak point in terms of sample distribution for the study.
The author found another main reason behind video gaming apart from entertainment is the challenge aspect. The finding also reflects that the participant feel that this is a learning in form of acquiring new skills, searching skills and evaluations skills from using several approaches to solve problems and also in choosing new games to play.
The author viewed this learning behaviour and activities to be matching with information literacy model and activities related to search and evaluate plotted with SCONUL seven pillar model. In relation to these findings, researcher such as Bourgonjon et al (2010) argues that the informational literacy is limited to only contemporary students as a learning tool.
The article did not presented video games as information literacy but the authors identified the practices of information literacy in the student’s participation behaviour. This can be in consensus with the findings of Smale (2011) which states that information literacy training can be enhanced for engaging students through video gaming.
This article also stated that information literacy is an essential component in games based learning with a broader scope in this arena. At the same time, Tewell and Angell (2015) mention that study of non-digital games is also a vital component to determine the information literacy and its potential or barrier in adoption of literacy and information behaviour practices.
The study by Gumulak and Webber (2011) lacks in this aspect in its analysis. On the positive side, it can be added that the study has included the above mentioned model of SCONUL seven pillars to contribute to the understanding of the activities related to informational behaviour and which is the strength of the article which offer to gain an understanding of the information literacy.
This model is reliable as it is used by many library professionals and other professional that support information literacy to comprehend about IT skills and informational skills for its progression into higher studies (Maguire, 2017).
Apart from this, the conclusion part is lengthy and complex to understand the major findings of this study. The author begins the conclusion by addressing the research questions however; the article is conclusion is found to be confusing in the last few paragraphs.
In addition to this, the research does not explain the limitations of the study that reduce the possibility for the future researchers to conduct further studies. There are no research implications for the future researchers.
In relation to this, Haggard et al. (2011) also pointed out that it is mandatory to consider research implications in the study because it guides the researchers and scholars to conduct the study in more valid and reliable manager in future.
Thus, it can be viewed that this article is very simple in its format and content. Thus, it can be said that it is not very engaging which indicate the need of a more succinct introduction about the background of the research.
On the positive side, the article score on its originality. The article also presented a good research issue of developing information literacy through game based learning. However, the author did not offer any concrete action or guideline for developing this out among the young players.
It can be summed up that the article by Gumulak and Webber has good positive aspects and also negative aspects. At the same time, the study needs to reconsider its few sections such as it’s a more concise introduction covering the research background, use of mixed methods research approach in methodology and segregating the conclusion for its implications and limitations to better engage and understanding by the reader audience.
The study did not reflect on proper implications for the librarians and other professional educators for educational purposes. The strength of the article can be boosted by taking a larger sample size followed by qualitative analysis to form generalisations about the study findings. This will be helpful for the authors to increase the internal validity and validity of the overall research.
Bourgonjon, J., Valcke, M., Soetaert, R., & Schellens, T. (2010). Students’ perceptions about the use of video games in the classroom. Computers & Education, 54(4), 1145-1156.
Gumulak, S., & Webber, S. (2011). Playing video games: Learning and information literacy. In Aslib Proceedings (Vol. 63, No. 2/3, pp. 241-255). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Haggard, D. L., Dougherty, T. W., Turban, D. B., & Wilbanks, J. E. (2011). Who is a mentor? A review of evolving definitions and implications for research. Journal of management, 37(1), 280-304.
Maguire, B. (2017). Information Literacy: Information Sharing, Democracy and Life-long learning. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 1(3), 257-266.
Marshall, B., Cardon, P., Poddar, A., & Fontenot, R. (2013). Does sample size matter in qualitative research?: A review of qualitative interviews in IS research. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 54(1), 11-22.
Mekler, E. D., Bopp, J. A., Tuch, A. N., & Opwis, K. (2014). A systematic review of quantitative studies on the enjoyment of digital entertainment games. In Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 927-936). ACM.
Reid, G. (2012). Motivation in video games: a literature review. The Computer Games Journal, 1(2), 70-81.
Robinson, O. C. (2014). Sampling in interview-based qualitative research: A theoretical and practical guide. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 11(1), 25-41.
Smale, M. A. (2011). Learning through quests and contests: Games in information literacy instruction.
Tewell, E. C., & Angell, K. (2015). Far from a trivial pursuit: assessing the effectiveness of games in information literacy instruction. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 10(1), 20-33.