As a nascent area of study, gamification has attracted the interest of researchers in several fields, but such researchers have scarcely focused on creating a theoretical foundation for gamification research. Gamification involves using game-like features in non-game contexts to motivate users and improve performance outcomes. As a boundary-spanning subject by nature, gamification has drawn the interest of scholars from diverse communities, such as information systems, education, marketing, computer science, and business administration. To establish a theoretical foundation, we need to clearly define and explain gamification in comparison with similar concepts and areas of research. Likewise, we need to define the scope of the domain and develop a research agenda that explicitly considers theory’s important role. In this review paper, we set forth the pre-theoretical structures necessary for theory building in this area. Accordingly, we engaged an interdisciplinary group of discussants to evaluate and select the most relevant theories for gamification. Moreover, we developed exemplary research questions to help create a research agenda for gamification. We conclude that using a multi-theoretical perspective in creating a research agenda should help and encourage IS researchers to take a lead role in this promising and emerging area.
Research Commentary: Setting a Definition, Context, and Theory-Based Research Agenda for the Gamification of Non-Gaming Applications.
AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, 10(3), 129-163.