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The Role of Narrative in the Design of an Educational Game

, The University of Wisconsin - Madison, United States

The University of Wisconsin - Madison . Awarded


This study explored how designers perceived and used narrative during the creation of an educational video game. A qualitative, ethnographic, single case study approach was used to collect and analyze data pertaining to the narrative design trajectory of the game design team as well as Citizen Science, the game artifact they produced. During one year and three months, a total of one hundred and ninety pages of data was collected, which included ten interviews with seven participants, twenty culled pages of design documents, and attendance at several design team activities. Findings suggest typologies that include fourteen key types of narrative perceptions and uses that were present in this case study. These types ranged from narrative as a unifying design document, to narrative as a reward mechanism. As a single case study, this research reveals areas of inquiry that hold potential for generalizability. Implications include further study into uses of an overarching narrative summary design document and designing narrative for experiences in ways that heighten suspense and surprise. Future research includes exploring design language as a strong indicator of narrative perception and use, as well as the leveraging of emergent narratives as a rich resource for learning and assessment.


Blakesley, C.C. The Role of Narrative in the Design of an Educational Game. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Wisconsin - Madison. Retrieved February 24, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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