University of the West of Scotland


Research_Game - The European scientific research game

Principal investigators : Professor Thomas M Connolly and Dr Tom Hainey

Funding Body : EU LLP, Comenius

Value : €398,400

Project Partners :

Europe needs to adapt to a rapidly changing business and learning environment and it is critical that secondary students understand how science and technology provide the basis for the advances in education and the workplace and how they will affect their careers. The inductive and hypothetico-deductive reasoning of scientific research methodologies require logical reasoning and critical thinking skills that are core competences. These high-level thinking skills provide the fundamental base to tackle the problems of the 21st century. The project fits very well with the EU 2020 Strategy "New Skills for New Jobs" and the General Priorities of LLP.

Research methodologies pose significant challenges for many students. The material is challenging because it is highly abstract and requires the coordination of different but inter-related issues that are all necessary to develop a coherent and usable skills base in this area. Students have to develop an understanding of how to formulate hypotheses, identify, define and operationalise relevant variables, select an appropriate design to examine links between variables, collect and analyse data, identify relevant ethical issues and interpret and discuss the findings.

There has recently been an upsurge of interest in using games for learning. They offer methods of learning that are highly consistent with modern theories of effective learning, that should be active, situated, problem based, interactive, socially mediated, etc. To be successful the affordances offered by a game have to match the desired learning outcomes. Killi (2005) argued that games can offer players support by providing clarity about different stages in solving a problem.

The Research Game requires secondary school students to collaborate across Europe, to build hypotheses, research and test the validity of their hypothesis and finalise a theory based on their findings. It will develop an understanding of scientific research work. Students will be expected to share their research findings and can enter a competition.

The aims of the project are:

  • to excite young students in the research and to enhance their ability to realize creative thinking, to apply test and hypothesis, to get confidence and practicality to develop research projects as a tool in the world of work;
  • to support European teachers to use these proposed innovative approaches to set up a research work;
  • school development, leadership and connection links with the world of work;
  • to help the promotion of creativity and competitiveness in the world of work;
  • to support the development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices for lifelong learning;
  • to help young people acquire the basic life-skills and competences necessary for own personal development and for future employment;
  • to improve the volume of partnership among schools in different Member States.

More specifically, the objectives of the project are to develop:

  • a purpose-built educational research game to allows students to play as a real researcher, developing their scientific skills;
  • innovative e-platform containing scientific materials and educational videos, research tools, etc.;
  • research plan templates and guides for teachers and students in order to develop and apply the owner research ideas;
  • achieve positive change of and exchange between the teachers and learners through the enhanced use of online/mobile teaching and learning methods;
  • workshops and methodology guides for teachers;
  • large scale pilot across Europe;
  • creation of a 'community of practice' for teachers/policy maker to exchange experiences;
  • sustainable packages (for the use of all research tools after the end of the project);
  • disseminate results to inform stakeholders of results;

Project Website: