Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) are important sites (albeit virtual) for social interaction, socialization, and meaning-making. The goal of this unit assignment is to gain first-hand experience in the benefits and challenges of social science research. In this module, you will conduct your own research investigation in WoW on a topic related to class that interests you. Your goal is not to generate definitive results or findings but rather to understand how social sciences research gets done. Toward these ends, you will:
- Decide on a research question related to social interaction, communication, and/or behavior in the virtual world of WoW
- Determine what data you need to collect in order to answer that question
- Collect online data from inside the game or from a game-related fansite, forum or other sociocultural space
- Analyze those data in order to infer an answer to your research question
- Create a slide deck on your study.
The final slide deck should consist of 10 slides total, containing:
- RQ: State your research question clearly.
- So What?: State why your research question is important or interesting
- Data Collection: Detail the data you collected to answer your question
- Data Analysis: Detail how you analyzed your data
- Findings: Create a data visualization of some form (diagram, table, graph, etc.)
- Conclusions: What is the answer to the question? State what you interpret your findings to mean.
- Limitations: Detail the limitations to your conclusions. What do you not know? What are alternative explanations of the patterns seen?