Project:Filter - using applied games to engage secondary schoolchildren with public policy

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Applied games present a twenty-first-century method of consuming information for a specific purpose beyond pure entertainment. Objectives such as awareness and engagement are often used as intended outcomes of applied games in alignment with strategic, organizational, or commercial purposes. Applied games were highlighted as an engagement-based outcome to explore noPILLS, a pan-European policy research project which presented policy pointers and suggested methods of interventions for reducing micropollution within the wastewater treatment process. This paper provides an assessment of a video game which was developed for the purpose of public engagement with policy-based research. The video game, Project:Filter, was developed as a means of communicating noPILLS to secondary school children in Scotland as part of a classroom-based activity. Knowledge development and engagement were identified using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to evidence topical awareness, depth of understanding, and suggested methods of intervention. Analysis of observations also provided insights into challenges surrounding logistics, pedagogy, social interactions, learning, and gender as contributing factors to the schoolchildren’s experiences of Project:Filter. The intention of this paper is two-fold: firstly, to provide an example of developing video games from policy-based research; and secondly, to suggest methods of phenomenological assessment for identifying play-based engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Virtual Worlds Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2019


  • Applied games
  • Engagement
  • Game-based learning
  • Phenomenology


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