Thesis Of Warcraft

By John Walker on July 30th, 2008 at 6:05 pm.

'Excuse me sir, could you answer a few questions?'

Reader Huon Longman got in touch with us, asking if we could help out with his thesis study examining the levels of social support derived by players of MMOs based on the resulting social networking, as well as what effects this has on symptoms of anxiety and depression, stress levels, and overall life satisfaction.

Which seems like an interesting study to us, so why not. If you think you’re a WoW player, and interested, there’s an FAQ all about the project below, along with details of where to get involved.

PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH
Information for Prospective Participants

The following research activity has been reviewed via QUT arrangements for the conduct of research involving human participation. If you choose to participate, you will be provided with more detailed participant information, including who you can contact if you have any concerns.

The effects of social support derived from online computer games on negative psychological symptoms and life satisfaction.

Research Team Contacts

Huon Longman, Honours student
h.longman@student.qut.edu.au

What is the purpose of the research?

This research is being conducted as part of an Honours thesis at the Queensland University of Technology. The purpose of this research is to examine the levels of social support derived by players of Massively-Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) from within, and outside of, MMORPGs, and the effect that this social support has on depressive symptoms, symptoms of anxiety, stress levels and life satisfaction.

Are you looking for people like me?

The research team is looking for players of the MMORPG “World of Warcraft” over the age of 18 willing to participate in the study.

What will you ask me to do?

Your participation will involve completing an online questionnaire that will ask you general questions about your activities within “World of Warcraft”; general questions about your life outside of “World of Warcraft”; and questions about any symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress that you may be experiencing. It should take no longer than half an hour to complete.

Are there any risks for me in taking part?

The research team does not believe there are any risks for you if you choose to participate in this research, or where risks exist they have been reviewed and suitable plans put in place. It should be noted that if you do agree to participate, you can withdraw from participation at any time during the project without comment or penalty.

Are there any benefits for me in taking part?

It is expected that this project will not benefit you directly. However, it may potentially assist in efforts to promote health and wellbeing amongst players of MMORPGs.

Will I be compensated for my time?

The researchers are not offering any incentives for your participation.

I am interested – what should I do next?

If you would like to participate in this study, please complete the online questionnaire by following this link.

You will be provided with further information to ensure that your decision and consent to participate is fully informed.

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24 Comments »

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  1. Paul B says:

    As a sufferer of mental illness, I can say that playing WoW helped me a lot socially. While recovering from the illness, I was too withdrawn to make friends in the real world, but playing WoW meant that I could make good friends online and express myself through my keyboard.

    I had a lot of good experiences from my time playing the game, as most WoW players have. Whether simply using an online chat-room would have the same effect, I don’t know? But it was a sad day when I had to close my WoW account (at lvl 40, simply because the grind was getting too much for me).

    I’d be interested in the results of this survey, it sounds like it could potentially be very interesting (shame it wasn’t a year ago while I was still playing).

  2. The Hammer says:

    I filled it in.

    Some of those questions applied to be quite a bit. I’m also quite interested to seeing the results.

  3. GeorgeR says:

    Cool. I’ll definitely take part. Maybe I’ll even be at a conference where they talk about the end result. haha.

  4. Zell says:

    That’s a well-constructed questionnaire! Nice. It still doesn’t quite manage to get to the heart of the double bind, in my opinion; that friendships in WoW are genuine — the people are real, and feel real, especially so over voice servers — and so the games can provide genuine and sometimes priceless quality-of-life improvements… but at the same time, MMO’s are very drug-like in their ability to distract you from problems. In times of trouble it can be a lot easier to just log in and play than it is to get a job, or raise your children, or confront your wife. I’d wager anybody who’s played a MMO a lot has seen this first-hand in their guild mates from time to time.

  5. ZENO says:

    I wouldn’t play WoW, not even in the name of science.

  6. Chris R says:

    The questions were almost exactly the same for me in regards to Out of game vs In game… but that’s probably because all my close group of friends I know in real life played WoW together with me. We don’t play WoW anymore for the record, now we’re playing TF2 and Diablo 2.

    I’d be interested in seeing the results as well.

  7. leelad says:

    Bit tricky, nothing this past few weeks has been able to smash the smile off my face, finding out you’re going to be a dad apprently does that.

    It’s also been shitting hot this week so my normal calm self has been somewhat irritable.

    That said i’d be interested to see the outcome.

  8. Maloth says:

    This test is a laugh. Age and sex? Get real. How do you measure social support effects with only that information? It could just as easily be called a test of the effects of chatrooms, WoW players who read blogs, of internet relationships (romantic or non), the effects of non-physical communication on social support… and so the list goes on. WHO IS TAKING THIS TEST? WoW is pretty much a token subject on this test when you consider that the only qualifications needed are 18 and a WoW player — there’s a lot of life drama and social/circumstantial stuff that can and will taint the results. That’s all basically ignored and in turn makes the whole test worthless from a research perspective.

  9. cyrenic says:

    Apparently you didn’t bother to hit the “next” button, Maloth.

  10. eoy says:

    Interesting test. Some of it hit very close, and especially the dry mouth part got me worried as that’s something I feel every day while I’m playing.

  11. h4plo says:

    Maloth hit it dead-on, at least with the “measured demographic” bit. I imagine that the goal of the conductor is to generate a random survey, but there are a rather limited number of ways to do that; his best bet would be to get ahold of a list of all regularly played accounts, pick an early-A name at random, and send the test to accounts in intervals of some arbitrary number. Relying on sites like this and I imagine the other gaming sites he used is going to heavily skew his data, and I worry for him that the people reviewing his doctorate are going to throw it out.

    I’d personally be more interested in having clearly defined economic, social, health and racial subcategories. It’s a shame Maloth didn’t actually read the rest of the survey as the questions DO get rather specific (in a vague description of generalized-anxiety/depression disorders) as for what the test is measuring, but those metrics, without a backdrop of demographics, are going to be pretty useless.

  12. The Hammer says:

    Congratulations, Leelad! :)

  13. Batolemaeus says:

    What Zeno said.

  14. Master Huang says:

    Hiya hamachi wu, remember me? We use to play together in WoW. Anyway, I think what hamachi said is really the true stories of WoW players. I personally experience a similar phase in my life and WoW had helped me to get through. I’ve been playing 18/7 ever since.

  15. Primar says:

    Survey seemed fairly good, will be interesting to see the results, should they publish them. I still don’t think that MMOs or gaming can be isolated as a cause of anything though; far too much depends on the player or environment to specifically define a game as a good or bad cause.

  16. davidAlpha says:

    lately RPS has a lot of comments from people who are not (Too put it midly) interested in or capable of having a good, clean and well argumented discussion. Its too bad because thats what makes this site great.

    Also I agree very much with H4plo, but I’d still be interested to see the results.

  17. AbyssUK says:

    This comments section gave me a headache.

  18. Visi says:

    One thing to mention. Mos- Ok, ALL of my friends are online, and while I spend most of my time on the computer, most of that time isn’t spent on WoW.

    Some of the questions were a little unspecific, and it would have been nice to have a “other things to note” box at the end.

  19. Cooper says:

    I’d personally be more interested in having clearly defined economic, social, health and racial subcategories. It’s a shame Maloth didn’t actually read the rest of the survey as the questions DO get rather specific (in a vague description of generalized-anxiety/depression disorders) as for what the test is measuring, but those metrics, without a backdrop of demographics, are going to be pretty useless.

    As a psychological test, it works. As a social scientist, I’d too like that background info – but by having the same questions about outside WoW and in WoW, you end up with all you need to compare responses and start doing covariance or whatever tests you need.

  20. Maloth says:

    I did read and fill in the whole test, next buttons included. The specificity is a non-issue because although they tangentially relate to WoW you can not have any certainty whatsoever that they actually are a result of the game without establishing a control group. That was the intended spirit of my comment, not just read-the-first-page bashing. Demographics are essential to establish on any survey. There’s no such thing as a “random sample” that is not controlled, as ironic as that sounds. Pass this survey around a church, and you’ll get substantially different results than if you passed it around a retirement home, an office, or a fire station, despite the fact that it’s ostensibly targeted at “WoW players”. Internet pages like this are usually clique-targeted, meaning you’re going to get a half dozen concentrated streams of people with similar backgrounds or interests that were also willing to fill in a survey, not an actual representation of the player base.

  21. Ted says:

    They want to find correlation between symptoms of anxiety and depression in real life and in interactions in WoW. You don’t need to a random sample for that. They just need to find enough crazy and sane people to fill out the survey so they can distinguish between the two and find any interesting differences between how the two groups experience real life and WoW. They want to know if anxious or depressed people in real life function better in an MMO environment. They’re not looking for whether the game “causes” anything. It’s the other way around if anything. This is a totally valid thing to be looking at in this way.

  22. proofreading & editing says:

    Social support for an online gamer? I didn’t think there was any.
    Emotional and physical deterioration: now, that’s a better study for research.

  23. thesis writing help says:

    WoW consumes a lot of time. I wrote custom research paper. It’s much more helpful for people to get socialized in social networks like facebook. WoW is good for gamers.

  24. resume writers says:

    This research seems extremely interesting for me! Players do offer help to others but there’s never been any statistics on how often they do it.