Research Blues

29 Mar

Given the announcement that most of our stuff is cascading upon us in speeds that no one really cares to translate into verbage (probably because it would just be a slur of profanity), I don’t find myself being too worried. Dr. V has a point: we have been kinda working on this all semester. So, the timeline doesn’t horribly frighten me.

What does terrify me, is potential research bias.

The biggest thing I struggle with is that the topic is something I have a lot of passion on: I love gaming. A lot. The topic I am researching has been a reoccurring phenomenon since…well, as long as I’ve been associated with gaming, which is only a measly 18 years.

My gaming habits are effectively old enough to buy cigarettes. Shoot me….

I’m finding that I’m actively avoiding a trap that my chair has warned me about time and time again: don’t make studies that find what you’re looking for. The previous article analysis I posted is a prime example of this statement-the study was designed such that the participants are placed in a situation that would, naturally, make them miserable. The results then say ‘these people claim to be miserable.’ Well, when you tell someone they can’t access trinkets of their everyday life, they tend to become miserable…that’s called ‘human nature.’ However, they took said misery and tried to link it to social media use.

The trap I’m avoiding is one where I’m purposely finding negative feedback from content. Granted, I’m seeing much more in terms of negative feedback than positive, but I really have to force myself to see if there are any trends, if the negative feedback is at least meaningful, if there is something else I’m missing, or if I’m purposely going after negative feedback and ignoring (overwhelming) positive feedback. It’s concerning. I’ve made a claim that being ignored is the perception that the gaming community is extracting, and I have some studies supporting it. Typing and studying this topic is proving to be difficult-I’m trying to prevent myself from letting passion take over and destroy my project. I really want to just say in all caps: “LISTEN TO THE GAMING COMMUNITY AND WE’LL STOP BASHING YOU!”

But I can’t. It’s screaming bias, and thus is invalid.

So, I’m really focusing on trying to make a valid point and not just yell obscenities to people who *might* read it. At current, I have some caps of evidence that show users’ comments. However, R6 should be able to quantify (and kick start) analysis of the data in a much more robust fashion. A good derailing device that I’ve found is that my interest in sociology as a whole forces me to want to find the relevance amongst it all. The gaming community is making a ‘stand’ to call for action from a bigger entity, and it refers back to our literature earlier in the semester regarding crowds, cyberprotest, and crowd sourcing. It’s really interesting….

Until I see a post that makes me furious because someone is making a claim based on little to no information. I’ll admit-while perusing through the feedback, every now and again I feel obligated to flame someone. Learn about what you’re talking about before you yell at someone!! (DLC-downloadable content gripes are killing me) Oy, that drives me insane.

I will not get on my soap box…
I will not get on my soap box…


Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Research Blues

  1. sarahcoxdesign

    March 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    That’s good though that you’re finding connections to the literature from class!

  2. Mihaela

    March 31, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Vanessa, this level of reflexivity is a plus for any researcher, and required in qualitative research. I ask students to write researcher identity memos to become aware of the biases they bring to their projects. The point in qualitative research is not to suppress those biases, but to make them explicit and clear to the reader. To be honest about them.

    I also do not believe that research is, or should be, value-free and “objective.” First, it’s time to admit there is no such thing as objectivity. Philosophers have realized that quite a long time ago.

    That being said, it doesn’t mean you should manipulate your findings. Be honest about your data collection and analysis.

    But by all means, use the Discussion section to make the argument you want. Your interpretation of the results is just that, your interpretation. So, go at it. Use it to make recommendations to industry. Just make sure you ground them in data.


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