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  • Writer's pictureAnna Tookey

Research - GDO710 - Week 8

Week 8. I am so far behind it hurts. Sadly I am cramming some of my weeks together. This term has literally been the busiest I have ever been in my life. This has its positives! I feel like I am really developing my skills with more of a direct guide. But! so much is happening and I haven't been able to put my master's on priority. Let's see how it goes.


  • Introduction to audience research.

  • Discussion on ethics.

  • Erik Geelhoed.

  • Qualitative method.

  • Quantitative method.

  • Alcwyn Parker

  • Stanley Milgram (Milgram shock experiment - 1963 case study)

  • Philip Zimbardo (Stanford prison experiment - 1971 case study)

  • Good research

  • Principles

  • Outcomes

  • Rights

  • Treat others how you wish to be treated.

  • Absolutist

  • Relativist

  • Cost to individual vs Benefits

  • Ethical dilemmas

  • Vulnerable Participants

  • Privacy

  • Deception


  • Challenge activity.


In this week's discussion, we are presented with 2 case studies. Each case study has been developed so that we delve into the possible ethical questions we might need to answer.

Case Study 1 --------------------------------------------------

"Tyrone wants to study the impact of violent games on people’s attitudes toward violence in real life.

He plans to test 14-16 yr olds because he believes they are still young enough to be highly impressionable.

He will solicit volunteers to come after school. Half will be assigned to play one hour of a violent game while the other half will play an hour of a game that involves no violence.

After the hour, all participants will fill out a questionnaire about their attitudes toward violence" (Falmouth, 2022)

"What additional information might you want to know about the study in order to decide whether or not it should be approved?" (Falmouth, 2022)

  • Do the 14-16-year-olds play games at home in their spare time? If so, do these games promote violence?

  • What is the level of Violence in the video game? GTAV? Minecraft?

  • Do the selected kids have any predisposition to violence / any issues at home which might effect the validity of the study?

  • Is any consent being sought after for the guardians of the kids? If this study proves that violent video games will make children more violent, how do you plan to support those children who were affected?

"What are the benefits that might result from this research? What are the potential harms?" (Falmouth, 2022)

  • Benefit: We can better understand what is causing children to be more violent.

  • Benefit: Age ratings on certain games can be changed to better suit children at an impressionable age.

  • Benefit: Parents would have a better idea of what games/products they can buy for their children.

  • Benefit: Game designers will be forced to change ideals and cater differently to younger audiences.

  • Drawback: The children might be negatively affected and show more signs of violence than previously demonstrated.

  • Drawback: Behaviour from video games might be mimicked.

"If you were on an IRB reviewing this proposal, what would your recommendation be? (Falmouth, 2022)

  • Once the points mentioned above have been addressed then we can review the case study for a second time. Keep reviewing until the issues have been resolved.

  • If all the points have been addressed, then start the study.

Case Study 2 --------------------------------------------------------------

"Charlotte wants to research the effect of labelling students (gifted vs struggling) on their achievement in the first year of HE.

She proposes that students be divided into reading groups in which ability levels are evenly mixed. One group will be told they are gifted readers, another group will be told that they are struggling readers, and a third group will be told nothing at all.

Charlotte’s hypothesis states that by the end of the year, the students in the ‘gifted’ level group will outperform those in the ‘struggling’ group on the same reading test." (Falmouth, 2022)

"What additional information might you want to know about the study in order to decide whether or not it should be approved?" (Falmouth, 2022)

  • Have you considered previous research before sending this pitch? There have been countless case studies on the same topics and almost all of them have had adverse effects on children.

  • Parents must be made aware of the possible long-lasting effects on self-confidence and other research must be shown as evidence.

  • What age are the students that are taking part in the study?

"What are the benefits that might result from this research? What are the potential harms?" (Falmouth, 2022)

  • Benefit: Help us better understand the psychology of children depending on the age of the participants. If the students who were labelled as "Gifted" perform better, this might be constructive feedback we can give students that are struggling to encourage them to perform better.

  • Drawback: It will affect the student's self-confidence and possibly affect them in the long term.

  • Drawback: Previous research already shows that the students that are labelled as gifted succeed more while the students which were already gifted and now are labelled different, suffered in the final exams.

"If you were on an IRB reviewing this proposal, what would your recommendation be? (Falmouth, 2022)

  • Do not proceed with this case study. There is plenty of previous case studies which address a similar topic and have had adverse implications on young adults.



"One of the first things you need to realize is that people are different." - Erik Geelhoed (2022).

This is a big thing in the games industry as well as UI/UX. The easiest example I can think of is the older generation interacting with apps that the younger generation has grown up with.

For example, for people that have grown up with technology, there are common UX elements in most browsers. On PC if you want to exit something the exit button will always be in the top right corner. This is translated to phone apps and more. This becomes something intuitive to people that have grown up with technology.

However, for a person who did not grow up with technology, navigating the technological space can be tough and it might not be as intuitive as we believe.

You need to ensure you consider who the target market it aimed for when designing a product.

When it comes to designing the product for the target market you need to do your research. There are various methods to go about audience research, here are the main approaches:

Qualitative methods

This method involves collecting data which does not involve numerical values. The data is collected in the form of text, video, and audio, usually a free-form answer rather than a set multiple choice. This data is then analysed and used.

  • Examples

  • Individual interview.

  • Cognitive walkthrough/thinking aloud,

  • Group interview,

  • Focus group,

  • Asking participants to keep a diary,

  • Observations,

  • Self-reflection. (A. Parker, 2022)

Quantitive methods

This method involves data which involves collecting and reviewing statistics / numerical data. This data is collected in the form of numbers, multiple choice questionnaires and more. It is used to find patterns, averages and is a more scientific method. Quantitative data and science go hand in hand whereas Qualitative data has more of a relationship with psychology.

  • Examples

  • Questionnaires

  • Physiological measurements

  • Technology logs / automated logging

  • Observations

  • When, How long, How often? (A. Parker, 2022)

Let's be real, many psychologists back in the day did not have ethics.

I studied psychology briefly in school and it was nice to jump back into some classic case studies. Milgram and Zimbardo are two examples of psychologists who have taken their work too far. They risked too much and the people who participated in their experiences still are still dealing with the adverse consequences.

Pavlov & his dogs (McLeod, 2021)

Another classic example is Pavlov and his dogs.

The experiment produced amazing results which we still use to this day. It taught us about classical conditioning, something which is even used in game design. However, for his experiment, he had to drill into the mouths of dogs. Which... Well... is very unethical.

Notes from video (Tookey, 2022)

Notes written from (A. Parker, 2022), Image (Tookey, 2022)



Falmouth University (2022) Week 8: Spark Forum [Falmouth University teaching platform] [website] Accessed 2nd August 2022.

A. Parker (2022) Week 8: Integrity, Ethics and Policy [Falmouth University teaching platform] [website] Accessed 2nd August 2022.

A. Tookey (2022) Written notes from Alcwyn's video [Image] Accessed 2nd August 2022.

S. Mcleod (2022) Pavlov's Dogs Study and Pavlovian Conditioning Explained. Accessed 2nd August 2022.


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