Friday, March 14, 2014

My Research on Gaming

Hello, readers! About a year or so ago, I mentioned that I might be doing some research related to table top RPG gaming (and gamers). In this follow-up post, I have a bit of good news, and a request. First the news.

As some of you may know, I am a college professor by trade. Recently, I made a decision to pursue gaming and simulation as one of my research areas. Prior to beginning my research, I was required to go through an institutional review board (IRB) for research on human subjects. Basically, I had to tell the IRB what I proposed to do, to whom I proposed to do it, and how I would go about doing so. There also was the requirement that I have a plan for gaining consent from the people participating in my research, and a plan for storing securely the data resulting from the research. At long last, that process is complete, and my project has been approved. That's where you come in. You have the opportunity to be "human subjects."

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of surveys about gaming, on this site. I also will post them on the Google+ community. I hope to gather information about you, what you play, how you play it, how you interact with other gamers in the various communities of which you are part, and what you get out of the experiences you have (and have had) through gaming.  I'm interested in learning a bit more about the people who form the OSR community (however you choose to define that term) about their gaming activities and the context(s) of those activities, and am particularly interested in learning about how social mediation plays a part in your gaming experiences. This particular conjunction of old-school gaming and new media is a peculiar thing. It both fascinates me, as a cultural phenomenon, and has been the source of many new and wonderful friendships. I'd like to learn more about other folks' experiences in that regard, as well.

In order to gather that information, I have constructed a long list of questions. Because it's so long, I've decided to break the questions down into several surveys, so you don't have to spend a couple hours at a time answering my incessant questions. They will be broken down by themes, as much as they can be. Not all of them deal with the OSR community or with online gaming. Some will explore your aesthetic preferences for games and game art, your gaming biographies, and other such things. The goal is to get the best and most accurate picture of my research participants as is possible.

The goal of this research is publication of articles (and maybe a book) about what we do and how we do it. The information you provide will be anonymous, unless you wish to be identified. I wanted to include that option for those whose existence as public figures is an important part of  their professional lives, and who might benefit from having their names included in this research. Again, this is completely optional, and the "default" mode will be to protect your identities by keeping you anonymous.

Please take part in my research, if you can. Also, when you see I've posted a new survey, help me spread the word to as many potential "research subjects" as possible by sharing my Google+ survey requests with people in your circles. I would very much appreciate it, personally, and your help in this regard will enhance the quality of the information I get.

Thanks for reading, and watch this space for updates.


  1. This sounds fantastic. I'm in!

  2. I have a friend who is also a professor by trade in our weekly group. She drops a lot of gaming and sci fi into her classes. This would be right up her alley.