The Value of Play

A year ago, in September 2019 I embarked on a new line of enquiry about play in HE called The Value of Play. It’s a research project generously funded by the  Imagination Foundation Laboratory and is doing three things:

  • it is extending exploration of the use of play in HE across the disciplines
  • it is investigating beliefs about value
  • it has a particular interest strand in play in management education at university.

How’s it going so far? Well…

I had hoped to travel widely, gathering data playfully and interactively, through workshops and the like. No prizes for guessing why that didn’t happen. So instead I’ve been channelling my energies into running a ‘gateway’ survey to find who is using play, and to talk to a number of them in more depth. Having completed 57 interviews I’m all Zoomed out and have started coding data from these and from elsewhere, including via a link to an online survey gathering perceptions of play. This survey has exceeded its target of 100 responses but will remain open until the end of September 2020, so do please fill it in if you would like. If you are using play in any way in HE for teaching/learning/support/research I’d love to hear from you. You’ll see there is a specific strand interested in management education but this does not mean you are excluded if you are in another discipline. I’m interested in EVERYONE everywhere.

If you’ve come straight to this part of my website and am wondering who I am, do have a click on my bio link above. If, instead, you’d just like more info about the project itself here are a range of links to browse through.

This is the story so far, but behind the scenes I’m pedalling furiously and slowly through a sea of codes to pull out the big themes. And there are loads. In the meantime, here is a photo from when I started my first cycle of coding, Old School (can you spot bucket of tea and unwanted helper?)

coding old school

Now – in August 2020 – I’ve coded 35 of 57 interviews and have pulled out 40 key motifs and a rich list of competing elements. I’ll be discussing these in forthcoming talks and once I have completed all interviews and done a repeat runthrough I’ll start sharing my findings more publicly. It’s all going to be freely available anyway once I’m done, but I’m keen to get things out once they are in a suitable shape, as our educational situation is changing so fast thanks to the global pandemic and its impact on universities.

The Value of Play Project Information

Researcher Statement and Expectations


Ethical Considerations

Consent Form