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A Phenomenological Inquiry of Sound within Educational Games


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A micro-presentation prepared for the 2013 Games Learning Society 9.0 Conference. This presentation details my early research exploring participant experiences of sound in educational games

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A Phenomenological Inquiry of Sound within Educational Games

  1. 1. a phenomenological inquiryof sound within educationalgamesby: jason rosenblumUniversity of Texas at AustinPresentation with refs:
  2. 2. Study backgroundPilot study to explore participant experience withsound.What’s it like to experience sound while playingeducational games?Precursor to follow-up phenomenological research inSP 2013, and will form the basis for dissertation work.Takes a descriptive phenomenological approach
  3. 3. peeking into the literaturevery little existing research with sound for educationalgamessome work to identify sound in edu software (Bishop,2008)majority focuses on uses of narration or sound andcognitive load (Kalyuga, 2010; Moreno & Mayer, 2000)can learn much from game sound studies (Jorgensen,2008; Collins, 2008) and film sound theory (Chion,1994)
  4. 4. What is ourexperience of soundin educational games?(Giorgi,1997; Moustakas, 1994)a research question...
  5. 5. (Giorgi,1997; Moustakas, 1994)What is ourexperience of soundin educational games?
  6. 6. “Thomas”, “Anne”and “Karen”from
  7. 7. hush...fate of the world alien rescue3 Serious Games
  8. 8. + + +Research Design
  9. 9. InterviewsScreenflow2 interviews per participant, appx 6 hrs of audio andrecorded gameplayValidation occurred with clarifying questions during theinterview
  10. 10. [ epoché ](Giorgi,1997; Moustakas, 1994)
  11. 11. (Giorgi,1997; Moustakas, 1994)horizonalization
  12. 12. reduction(Giorgi,1997; Moustakas, 1994;Corbin & Strauss, 2007)
  13. 13. Identified Horizonsidentified 378 HorizonsHorizon = Results of open coding of Meaning Units ininterview protocol
  14. 14. Invariant ConstituentsConstant comparison ofhorizons to cluster horizonsinto groupsFormed 51 Initial InvariantConstituentsAdditional grouping reducedto 12 Final Constituents
  15. 15. Final ConstituentsGame music supportsaffective engagementSound should connectwith game elementsand decision makingSound choices needto fit game contextSound effects conveyin-game movementGame sound providesimmersion and impactSound in and out ofthe game can bedistractingSound helps player toidentify as gamecharacterSound to connect within-game charactersheadphones providean immersiveexperienceMusic choices need tofit game contextSound and musicshould provideconnection in videoGame visuals andsound work closelytogether
  16. 16. Sound and visuals workedtogetherEnabled players to be fully present during gameplayand maintain a, “sense of presence” (Jorgensen, 2008,p. 171) in the game.players connected with stories,identified with the plight of game characters,made emotional connections with the gameexperience
  17. 17. Essence - emotionalconnectionAnne felt the emotional contours left by playing Hushand Karen thought the silent space station was“...creepy”.These experiences demonstrate an, “emotionalconnection to the game world” (Jorgensen, 2008, p.171)and for Anne, was an example of how sound canevoke anxiety during game play (Toprac & Meguid,2011)
  18. 18. Essence : connection tosocial issuesThomas: “much deeper than I thought it was going tobe. Definitely went from a typing game to a, ’Oh wow!’This is a serious social issue.”Anne: “...when you go in [with sound] you can’t helpbut understand it in a… much more experiential waythat sort of touched not just my head but my heart,too.”
  19. 19. Implications for researchForms basis for further inquiry into sound and playerexperienceCan be used to develop a framework to design soundfor educational gamesDescriptive phenomenological approach useful forother types of game-based learning research
  20. 20. Only my perspective in deriving horizons & doing analysisDescriptive phenomenology approach used notgeneralizableDescribes 3 people’s experiences collectively but couldbenefit from deeper analysis of overlap in meaning unitsFirst full phenomenology study. Many lessons learned aboutmethodology from Colaizzi, 1978 and Robinson, 1994
  21. 21. Follow-up ResearchBased on Colaizzi, 1978 and Robinson, 1994Rigorous reduction of meaning units to clearly connectinterpretation to interview protocol1 Participant, “Everest”3 in-depth interviewsStarted with appx 300 meaning units, reduced to 30Meaning Unit clusters and finally to 11 FinalConstituents
  22. 22. referencesChion, M. (1994). Sound on Screen (C. Gorbman,Trans.): Columbia University Press.Colaizzi, Paul. (1978). Psychological Research as the PhenomenologistViews It. In R.Valle & M. King (Eds.), ExistentialPhenomenological Alternatives for Psychology (pp. 48-71). NewYork: Oxford Press.Collins, K. (2008). Game Sound:An Introduction to the History,Theory, and Practice ofVideo Game Music and SoundDesign:The MIT Press.Giorgi,A. (1997).The theory, practice, and evaluation of the phenomenological method as a qualitative research procedure.Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 28(2), 26.Jorgensen, K. (2008). Left in the dark: playing computer games with the sound turned off. In K. Collins (Ed.), From Pac-Man toPop Music: Interactive Audio in Games and New Media (pp. 163-176):Ashgate.Kalyuga, S. (2010). Narration orVisual Text: When does Modality Effect Apply. Paper presented at the World Conference onE-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare and Higher Education (ELEARN), Chesapeake,VA.Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. (2000).A Coherence Effect in Multimedia Learning :The Case for Minimizing Irrelevant Sounds in theDesign of Multimedia Instructional Messages. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(1).Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological Research Methods: Sage PublicationsRobinson, Faith,A. (1994).An existential-phenomenological investigation of the experience of the experience of self-cutting insubjects with multiple personality disorder. (Ph.D.), California Institute of Integral Studies.Toprac, P., Meguid,A. (2011). Causing fear, suspense, and anxiety using sound design in computer games. In M. Grimshaw (Ed.),Game sound technology and player interaction: Concepts and developments (pp. 176-191). University of Bolton, UK:Information Science Reference.
  23. 23. fin.jarosenblum@gmail.com