PhD Student, York
David can remember the halcyon days when he had the free time to play games. Now he’s doing a PhD and has a baby. He has an MA in Syntax and Semantics and a BA in Linguistics. He has been designing and programming games since his older brother taught him BASIC at the age of 10. Outside of games, he’s also fond of tedious philosophical arguments and has worked in market research and meta-polling.
Using Applied Games to Motivate Speech Without Bias
Eliciting linguistic data faces several difficulties such as investment of researcher time and few available participants. Because of this, many language elicitation studies have to make do with few subjects and coarse sampling rates (measured in months). It would be ideal if a game could crowd-source relevant linguistic data with frequent, short game sessions. To this end, David’s research is looking into how games shape and elicit players’ linguistic behaviour.
All sorts of research tasks have been gamified to crowd-source data. However, the established design patterns of gamification do not easily apply to a domain that lacks a ‘correct’ answer, like language. Language is ultimately individual and subjective. This makes the risk to experimental validity through gamification an important concern. Nurturing a playful engagement is essential to gathering quality subjective data from players, as is understanding the communicative purpose of language within the game context.