Focus groups and serious gaming in climate change communication research—A methodological review

Article by Wibeck, Victoria and Tina‐Simone Neset

This article explores the methodological challenges and opportunities of climate change communication research in a digital landscape. It scrutinizes the potential and limitations of combining group‐based qualitative interview methods, such as focus groups, with new digital media tools such as serious games. The paper brings together three strands of research: Climate change communication studies, methods literature on focus groups, and literature on (digital) serious gaming. Our review demonstrates that studies that deliberately combine focus groups methods with serious gaming have hitherto been scarce. There is a proliferation of digital visualization tools in climate change communication. We therefore see the need to critically explore what and how the integration of digital tools into qualitative group‐based studies can contribute to enhancing research into climate change communication and knowledge development. To illuminate the opportunities and challenges for the integration of serious gaming in focus group studies in the area of climate change communication, we bring in a few illustrative examples from a research project that integrated focus group methodology with a serious game on climate adaptation in Nordic agriculture. Introducing digital serious games in focus group‐based climate change communication studies can benefit climate change communication research in at least three ways: (a) by spurring participants’ in‐depth discussions, facilitating analysis of how sense‐making occurs; (b) by providing opportunities to evaluate features of the game itself and to develop it for different target audiences; and (c) by forming part of participatory climate change communication activities, engaging lay people and/or experts in co‐creating knowledge.

Title of Journal / Edit Volume, incl. names of editors:
WIREs Climate Change

Wibeck, Victoria

Research Area:
Environmental humanities in transformative times



URL to website/presentation:

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