DOCTORAL THESIS (PsychD):
NON-ADDICTED, HIGH-ENGAGEMENT VIDEO GAMING
My doctoral thesis was titled “Transcending the borders between analogue and digital worlds: The meaningful cycle of high-engagement video gaming”. In this qualitative piece of research, I used Constructivist Grounded Theory to investigate the experiences of non-addicted, highly engaged gamers in order to better conceptualise high-engagement gaming as a construct separate from video gaming addiction. The findings were able to elucidate the process of non-addicted, high-engagement video gaming, recognising the separation of analogue and digital worlds, as well as the crossing of the borders between them.
As a therapist, I would argue my findings were particularly useful in identifying how video gaming impacted on the gamers’ lives, what the gamers themselves brought to their gaming and the various factors influencing their unique, individual gaming experiences.
Gaining an improved understanding of highly engaged video gaming also helped identify important differences between the processes of healthy and unhealthy involvement with gaming, as well as how to approach treating the latter in therapy.
BACHELOR DISSERTATION (BSc):
THE MOTIVATIONS FOR PLAYING WORLD OF WARCRAFT
My undergraduate thesis was titled “Different rules in a different world: The Motivations for playing the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) ‘World of Warcraft’.” The findings emerging from my Grounded Theory analysis suggested how gamers are motivated towards continued gameplay of World of Warcraft due to the pull of a Different World with processes built around rules different to the “real world”. In place of physical appearance, age or gender, the gamers’ in-game achievements functioned as capital. In-game skills would pave way towards social status and the construction and maintenance of relationships, with the highly immersive fantasy environment functioning as a constant reminder of being in a Different World.
The results of my undergraduate thesis supported the findings of previous research into motivations for playing video games, while also highlighting the importance of separating the processes and “rules” of the in-game world from those “IRL”- “in real life”.
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