Serious games research streams for social change: Critical review and framing

Marcel Fernandes Dallaqua, Breno Nunes, Marly M. Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The number of scientific publications about serious games has exponentially increased, often surpassing human limitations in processing such a large volume of information. Consequently, the importance of frameworks for summarising such fast‐expanding literature has also grown. This paper draws a panorama of serious game research streams, focusing on higher education in engineering and management. The research design involves a systematic review using PRISMA guidelines, along with bibliometric and content analyses. The sample comprises 701 documents collected from both Scopus and Web of Science databases. For supporting bibliometric analyses, Bibliometrix and Biblioshiny tools are employed. In addition, a coding schema is developed for in‐depth analysis of 701 documents selected according to the inclusion criteria. In short, the literature on serious games for engineering and management education grows more rapidly than modern science, following a globalised, collaborative and context‐based trajectory. The results reveal five main research streams: game design guidelines, game design cases, game experiment guidelines, game experiment cases and generalists. These streams are summarised in a proposed framework. Cross‐tabulation and statistical analyses conducted in SPSS Statistics identify the key relationships amongst the research streams. Finally, opportunities to investigate serious games for sustainable development education arise, and there is a need for future efforts to formalise the framework classification algorithm.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Early online date20 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License [], which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funding Information: The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Brazilian research funding agencies CAPES, the Federal Agency for the Support and Improvement of Higher Education (Finance code: 001; Scholarship number: 88887.716607/2022‐00), and CNPq, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (Scholarship number: 309643/2020‐1). They are also grateful for the support from Aston University in making this paper open access.


  • engineering and management higher education (EMHE)
  • serious games (SGs)
  • systematic literature review (SLR


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