Gamification and Dissertations

May 24th is National Scavenger Hunt Day. Games are fun. They get people excited about whatever they’re doing. Do you think your dissertation is more than just fun and games? Well, let’s talk about that…

Who doesn’t love a great game? Games make everything more fun!

Don’t believe me? Well, sometimes on road trips when the noise got to be too much, I’d get the kids to play The Quiet Game. This is an awesomely fun game where the first kid to make a noise or say a word loses! Believe it or not, the loser would often demand that they play another round!

Like I said, games motivate!

Now, you may already be thinking that your dissertation is serious business. Right? It’s absolutely Not. A. Game.

Okay, but hear me out. Research has shown that making something more “serious” doesn’t make you more motivated to complete it. Rather, if you are struggling with motivation, making something into a game makes you more likely to complete the task. Enter gamification.

Gamification? Yes. In case you haven’t heard of this concept yet, gamification is “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity.” Basically, by setting up a few rules, some scoring, some rewards, you can turn anything into a game. [Although you’ll have to think pretty hard to make your dissertation game as good as my Quiet Game! 🙂 ]

So, how can you apply gamification to your dissertation? One easy thing you could do is simply set up a series of stage-gate rewards! Take a look at your dissertation timeline and note the major (and minor) milestones along the way. (What’s that? You don’t have a dissertation timeline? Back up and put one together…now!)

Once you have a list of milestones, simply think of some minor rewards you can earn if you reach each milestone by the deadline you set for yourself. Complete that data collection by August 17 as planned? Great, you get to go out for dinner at your favorite nice restaurant. Or buy those new sneakers you’ve been eyeing, or…you get the idea. Only you know what might motivate you.

Finish a day before your deadline? Extra dessert for you!

Try it! You might be surprised how easy it is to motivate yourself when you make it fun.

Want to take your motivation to the next level? Join a group of dissertation students and throw a little competition into the mix! “There’s no way I’m letting Maria finish her lit review before me!”

Be creative.

Have fun.

And, get your dissertation done!

Does it feel like you’re losing at The Dissertation Game? Then, click hereto schedule a quick, 15-minute chat with me to see if you’re a good candidate for our Fast Track Your Dissertation Coaching Program. If you are, then I’ll invite you to join the fastest group of dissertation students out there and help you to reach graduation a good year or two faster than you would on your own.

If you need extra support and guidance to make it to graduation, I may be able to help. If you'd like to find out whether you qualify for the support we offer throughout the dissertation process, then...

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.

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