Sunday, August 23, 2009

Video Games and the Scientific Method

I think sometimes students wonder why they have to take science courses as part of any major. Part of the reason is to teach the scientific method. No matter whether you are taking biology, chemistry, physics, or some of the other sciences, you should be learning to form hypotheses and conduct experiments to see your ideas hold true ("the scientific method").

What amazes me is that this skill doesn't seem to stick. Politicians and other people toss out ideas that just don't hold up when investigated. For example, video games are for kids (wrong: statistics show that the average age of gamers is 35). Another example, video gamers are men (true, but not as extreme as portrayed: 40% of gamers are women). If you go with the false belief that teenage boys are the only people playing video games, you can draw many poor conclusions. For example, IF most people playing video games were male teenagers, you can draw conclusions about the content that should be available on these systems.

I ran across the article linked below and it just made me think how sometimes it's easier to go with anecdotal knowledge rather than do any research. For example "every time I go in to Game Stop, it's filled with teenagers". Well, this may be true, but this is not the only place that people buy video games. Evidence can be disputed with research. Research may indicate that adults buy their video games online rather than in stores like Game Stop, for the convenience or price or whatever. However, you could draw an incorrect conclusion just by walking in to a few stores and making a generalization.

Anyway, this article is a little bit biased for gamers, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Link to article


Anonymous said...

assume: ass * u * me

...when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME...

Anonymous said...

I shall assume that your silence gives consent.