The fake news SIMS-like game will consist of several levels that get progressively more challenging but incorporate a higher level of information to solve challenges.  Each level offers certain tools for developing a habitat (still debating; ranch, island city, or fictional environment).  In addition, a tool will be offered for distinguishing fake news from real news.  A challenge will require application of the fake news tools.  Success results in unlocking tools, advantages and ultimately leveling up.  Failure results in stagnant leveling and perhaps habitat destruction.

The research design should include gathering a cognitive measurement that is tied to decisions made during game play, and overall success in the game. In addition, the game should succeed in teaching how to use actual tools that can be used to identify fake news in the real world.  The thought is individuals that can already distinguish fake news might learn extra tips, and individuals that believe fake news will gain some insight to making better decisions.

I have identified methods that can fit together in a larger research design.  In the hierarchy Mixed Methodology is at the top.  This can encompass any variety of purposeful qualitative and quantitative techniques.  The next two techniques are the next level of hierarchy and intertwined in application.

Cognitive Mapping Methodology (CMM) could potentially fit into more than one part of the process.  Expected cognitive process could be mapped out in the design phase to determine expectations. In this stage the cognitive map would be based on existing literature and used to perspective to the initial design. After cognitive-based descriptive data is gathered CMM can be used to align the actual cognitive process with the learning activities.  This will help identify phenomena.  CMM will be applied a third time, as part of the QCA process (described below). 

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) Cognitive empirical data is gathered. This data will be taken from success in game leveling as well as tied to decisions made based on applied learning outcomes. Empirical results can be mapped out in coordination with descriptive findings.  This serves as another level to identify correlations, as well as triangulate the data and help to ensure validity.

This is an overall approach that I am considering.  Next steps, a more granular alignment with my research.

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