Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Methods for Games Research

UM LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DEPARTMENT Institute of Digital Games

DESCRIPTION This study-unit is intended to provide students with an overview of the research methods and analytical paradigms that can be put to use in the academic study of games. Its aim is to establish common ground for students who come to the MSc in Digital Games from widely divergent first-degree fields, by offering a consolidated approach to game studies as an inherently multidisciplinary endeavour. With this aim in mind, this study-unit shall serve as an introduction to the practices of game studies, giving students the practical and conceptual skill-set they require to further their academic career in the study of games at postgraduate level and beyond.

This study-unit shall provide students with an introduction to the various research approaches which can be taken in the study of games, providing an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methodologies as well as humanities-based analytical and theoretical approaches. Apart from offering a 'how-to' guide for students for whom specific paradigms and methodologies might represent a departure from their existing skill-set, the course will also consider different approaches through comparative and critical lenses, examining the biases and assumptions inherent in each respective approach.

Study-Unit Aims:

- Bring students from diverse academic backgrounds onto the same page by providing an overview of divergent research methodologies and approaches;
- Give students the necessary practical and analytical skills to engage in academic games research, from knowledge of the relevant research methods and approaches, to a solid grounding in academic writing, argumentation and presentation, with a specific focus on the analysis and criticism of games;
- Invite students to question the assumptions and paradigms of their first-degree discipline by providing a critical, comparative engagement with the assumptions of different research methodologies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate a solid knowledge of the variety of research approaches in game studies;
- Critically and comparatively examine not only the relative strengths and weaknesses, but also the assumptions and biases underpinning different research paradigms;
- Display knowledge of the field of existing game studies literature and of the primary resources for game studies research;
- Apply this knowledge by developing their own approach to the study of games.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Identify the appropriate quantitative or qualitative research methodology for a particular games research task;
- Correctly apply these research techniques in practice;
- Frame a research question, formulate a hypothesis and structure a critical argument;
- Know how and where to identify and search for existing game studies literature and other relevant resources;
- Adopt a critical perspective on existing games research;
- Develop a methodological and critical toolset for their own game studies research.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

No set texts. Relevant readings and material will be provided electronically during the duration of the study-unit.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Presentation (30 Minutes) SEM1 No 25%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 25%
Oral and Written Exercises SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Daniel Vella


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.