Summary & Recommendation:

Danielle Roach’s dissertation Pedagogy at Play: Gamification and Game Design in the 21st-Century Writing Classroom is situated within a games studies and cultural studies methodology. The foundation of her approach is “a series of interviews with writing instructors who use games and play in the classroom” (26). She uses these interviews as a sample of the ways writing instructors include games in their courses. She also collected other data including texts about gamification as well as games. She is specifically interested in the language used by educators to talk about games and gamification with attention to voices as the core of the project. The organization of the dissertation chapters followed four common threads based on responses from the interview participants: (1) playful pedagogy, (2) writing classrooms as game environments, (3) writing about games, and (4) writing in and for games (42). Ultimately Roach says that the project “by examining narratives about the inclusion of games and play in the classroom, [the] study seeks to consider how the examples offered by instructors compare with literature and prevailing attitudes about games and play in the classroom” (47).

One of the places that I thought was interesting was in the interview process that what the term game(s) meant was not completely clear. This has begun to make me consider when I look for participants if I should ask for any game or focus specifically on video games or table top games. Still on the fence about that. Roach clearly sets out her theoretical framework through the literature review, as well as sets our her methodology, including study design clearly in her methods chapter. I found it very helpful that Roach spent time discussing how she solicited a population for her study (something I wish I would have read before I wrote my IRB proposal since our projects seem very similar). I also found the discussion about research tools such as using Skype and the recording add-on Evaer useful for considering how to implement specific tools in the interview process. What I realized is that Roach’s interest and study are similar to my own ideas for my study (though mine on much much smaller scale). I think it will be very useful to me for my project this semester and I plan to use it as one of my sources.


Roach, Danielle Roney. Pedagogy at Play: Gamification and Game Design in the 21st-Century Writing Classroom. Diss. Old Dominion University, 2015. Web. 3 March 2016.