Research Project Begins

As we enter the last half of our summer session, it is time to begin thinking about your research project. As we have seen through our readings and our conversations, there are many potential topics to discuss in relation to videogames and a lot of research that has been done.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things you might consider.

  • Social-cultural dimensions: we’ve talked a fair amount about specific issues like addiction and violence. Those are the obvious topics that have received a lot of attention. But there are many other possible avenues to explore: representations of gender and race, gaming and education, the economics of gaming, cross-cultural studies of gaming (e.g. gaming in China), gamification, etc.
  • Psychological-medical dimensions: addiction and violence can also be studied from this perspective. Issues of attention. Use of gaming in rehabilitation, physical therapy, and so on.
  • Engineering, technical, and business dimensions: examining the development of gaming technologies: mobile gaming, AI, graphics, next-gen consoles, etc.
  • Videogame aesthetics: the study of the narratives, images, and interactivity of videogames. What kinds of stories do they tell? How do they tell them? Investigating the experience of the media for the player. You could think of this as doing literary analysis but applying it to a videogame rather than a novel or poem.

An Example

I decided that I was interested in Grand Theft Auto.

  1. I went to our library database and typed in “Grand Theft Auto” and game.
  2. I found out there were a couple books in the library and several thousand references in the database.
  3. I limited those results to full text scholarly articles. The format “journal articles” and the topic “computers and video games” and I narrowed it down to 145 results.
  4. I started looking through those and found one that looked interesting to me on the topic of music in Grand Theft Auto titled “Jacking the Dial: Radio, Race, and Place in ‘Grand Theft Auto'”
  5. I did a Google search for this article and the author and discovered that the article has been cited 23 times since its publication in 2007.
  6. I can also look at the works cited page of “Jacking the Dial” and find a range of other sources as well.
  7.  Now i have to see where my interests take me. Do I want to focus in on music and GTA? Do I want to shift toward race and GTA or some other topic on which this article addresses? Or do I want to think about music across several games? E.g. maybe I want to think about how this argument applies to the role of music in Watch Dogs or sports games like the FIFA or NBA products.
  8. So my next step is to read “Jacking the Dial” and write a Research blog post about it. That post is like an entry in an annotated bibliography. I would write a brief summary of the article and then write about my own interests in the article.

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