Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reelin' in the grants: The things that pass for research, I don't understand.

Looking for Gender: Gender Roles and Behaviors Among Online Gamers

Dmitri Williams, Mia Consalvo, Scott Caplan & Nick Yee
Journal of Communication, December 2009, Pages 700-725

Abstract: Several hypotheses regarding the importance of gender and relationships were tested by combining a large survey dataset with unobtrusive behavioral data from 1 year of play. Consistent with expectations, males played for achievement-oriented reasons and were more aggressive, especially within romantic relationships where both partners played. Female players in such relationships had higher general happiness than their male counterparts. Contrary to stereotypes and current hypotheses, it was the female players who played the most. Female players were also healthier than male players or females in the general population. The findings have implications for gender theory and communication-oriented methods in games and online research—most notably for the use of self-reported time spent, which was systematically incorrect and different by gender.


Get Back into that Kitchen, Woman: Management Conferences and the Making of the Female Professional Worker

Jackie Ford & Nancy Harding
Gender, Work & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract: Conferences are a little studied aspect of working lives. In this article we explore how management conferences contribute to the continuing imbalance of power between men and women in management. We analyse data gathered from a reflexive ethnographic study of a management conference. We show that women arrive at conferences as knowing subjects, able easily to occupy the subject position of conference participant, but they are then subjected to processes of infantilization and seduction. They are made to feel scared and are given the order, as were their mothers and grandmothers: get back to the kitchen. We avoid using a theoretical explanation for these findings, preferring to offer them without much explanation, for we favour instead a political approach, and we use the findings as a way of making a call to arms to change the ways in which conferences are hostile to women.


Fast-girls, babes and the invisible girls. Gender relations in snowboarding

Mari Kristin Sisjord
Sport in Society, December 2009, Pages 1299-1316

Abstract: The purpose of this essay is to examine gender relations in snowboarding through conceptions and experiences articulated by female participants. The main objective is to focus on relations between female and male snowboarders as well as relations between different groups of females. The empirical investigation was conducted in conjunction with a workshop organized by the Norwegian Snowboard Federation. Methods employed were participant observation and personal interviews. The results reveal male domination in different snowboarding contexts during practice and competition. Moreover, the analysis revealed different femininities among the female snowboarders, characterized within the subculture as the Babes, Fast-girls, and the Invisible Girls. The results are discussed in relation to perspectives on subculture and Bourdieu's conceptions of field, capital and masculine domination.

So if you select for females who play a lot of video game, they play a lot of video games.

And the second paper: Really? Isn't that from the Onion, instead of a journal? I LOVE that paper. "We avoid using a theoretical explanation..." Yes, that is correct. But, "They are made to feel scared and are given the order, as were their mothers and grandmothers: get back to the kitchen." That's a paraphrase, right? In my experience, woman are allowed to sit with the boys during the actual conference proceedings. And if someone told the new chair of my department, Karen Remmer, to go back to the kitchen, that person would need to visit the Emergency Room, stat.

Finally, the third paper: "The results reveal male domination in different snowboarding contexts during practice and competition." It's snowboarding. Women are fine at playing video games; no reason they can't be better than men. But men are likely to be better at purely physical sports, Billy Jean King aside. Roger Federer v. Serena Williams: anyone want to bet on Serena? Finally, as for "the invisible girls," they had better be careful on the mountain. Make them wear an orange reflective vest or something. Some boy is going to run smack into them, if they are invisible, and then some researcher is going to write that down as a "male dominance behavior."

(Nod to Kevin L)


Tom said...

"Fast-girls, babes and the invisible girls. Gender relations in snowboarding" WTF? Who PAID for this study??

Nevermind, I think I know.

Michael Ward said...

Regarding "behaviors among online gamers," the CDCs Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS indicate that boys are twice as likely to be a serious gamer. Just how was the first paper's sample collected?

Simon Spero said...

@Michael The first paper is available online at

The study was performed with the assistance of Sony Online Entertainment, who assisted in fielding the survey, and was able to provide measurements of actual time played; this direct measurement revealed unexpected results:

[C]ontrary to the hypothesis about playing time (H3), women played more hours of EQII than males
(Mfemale = 29.32 hours/week, SD = 20.14, Mmale = 25.03 SD = 18.70, F(1, 2436) = 10.24, p < .001, partial η2 = .004). Moreover, the overall distribution showed differences with the female population (Skewness = 1.63) having more high-intensity players than the men (Skewness = 1.30). A closer analysis of time by gender bears this pattern out: The top 10% of male players played an average of 48.86 hours/week, while the top 10% of female players played an average of 56.64 hours/week.

This was the first use of large-scale unobtrusive behavioral data collection in game research. The findings of inaccuracy of self-reported time played are inarguable and have serious implications for prior work. It has been a typical measure to ask players how many hours they play games per week, per month, and so forth, and researchers have always taken the answers on faith (the authors here are no exception). Inaccuracy was thought to be simple noise in the data. This can no longer be the case because not only do players systematically underestimate the time they play but also do so differently by gender. This finding, although not large, nevertheless brings into question marginal findings in past work. If time spent has been used as either a dependent or independent variable and findings have been only barely significant (or have just missed significance), those findings may have been under- or overstated. Given the field’s use of the .05 significance level, there may now be a series of past findings that should not have been published, and a series of rejected findings that actually should have been. Future work must be careful when using this standard, and past work should be re-evaluated. This also points out the usefulness of having unobtrusive measures of behavior whenever possible. (721-722)

fezgig said...

Yee has been looking at online gaming for a while.

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