Tuesday, December 29, 2009
MMORPGs becoming more and more mainstream, there is now also more and more academic research performed on them. Thus once in a while I get students asking me to post a link to a survey they made, so they get a more players to fill out the survey, and can use those data to write a paper or something. I used to post all of those, but nowadays I first go through the survey itself to see how biased it is. Some surveys, unfortunately, are so leading, and show so much bias, that you could basically write that paper by just reading the questions.
30 years ago, when I was a teenager, I was jobbing at a research institute which specialized in the research of how to do surveys. They did opinion polls using survey forms in different version, and showed how posing questions differently could lead to different survey results. There is a whole science to asking questions that are neutral, aren't "loaded", and don't try to lead the participant down a predefined path. Knowing that, I only link to surveys which are well done, and broadly neutral, without giving away the conclusion in the questions.
A student from the University of Hamburg sent me a link to such a well-done survey on MMORPGs, which has a range of general questions about what you play, and what aspects are important to you when playing MMORPGs. It isn't very long, so if you have 10 minutes to help out a student with his work, I encourage you to do this. I promise it is not one of those horrible polls which reek of a prejudice towards some sensationalist subject like "MMOs make you addicted".