RPG Research Status Update

by Hawke Robinson published 2014/04/21 14:55:00 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:26:53-07:00
A lot has happened over the past several months, and there is actually a backlog developing, so I thought I would take a minutes to organize the backlog, update folks on what has been completed, and look ahead to what is coming down the pipe. If there is anything I forgot to include, please let me know so I can integrate it into this article. Many of the items in the queue might unfortunately be stuck until the summer holiday from university. Consider this also my public TODO list...
RPG Research Status Update

This past 6 months has been extremely eventful in the efforts of researching the use of role-playing gaming for therapeutic and educational effects.

I hope everyone listed here is fine with my listing their names, I'm not aware of any NDA-style issues with the summaries I posted here. If I am mistaken, please let me know, and I will immediately adjust the information accordingly. The reason I listed this information publicly is to help everyone else realize how many others are working in different "vacuums" on their own, and to hopefully encourage using RPG Research increasingly as a hub to share research information on the use of RPGs for many different uses, and to help those considering different possibilities.

This is the second (going to be third soon?) year that the Israeli group Romach is implementing their use of Warhammer FRP Social rules for those young adults in their equivalent of the juvenile system, using role-playing games under the supervision of a licensed therapist, to address social skills, group problem solving, and other issues specific to each individual's needs in a cooperative play setting.

Timothe Loya was slowly chiseling away at attempting to get role-playing games approved by the Seattle-Bellevue VA system for the treatment of returning veterans diagnosed with PTSD.

The Bhodana Group (a la Jack Berkenstock) had their podcast announcing the plans for trying to use role-playing games for helping not only the victims of sexual abuse, but an even more controversial approach as a potential treatment of sexual abuse perpetrators as well.

I have an email interview of Jack in my queue that I really want to get assembled (and signed off by Jack) as soon as I can (it is unfortunately many months old).

Andrew Malinow contacted me months ago regarding the potential use of RPG for teaching math to middle-school students. It was a great conversation. I hope to hear more about his progress in that effort in coming months/years.

Alexi Vandenberg of Rapidfanboy.com, had contacted me mid-way last year to try to get an RPG Defense Fund organization in place. Unfortunately multiple attempts to schedule conference calls with various potential board members fizzle out. Hopefully this will gain traction in the future. He also contacted me recently asking to interview me for some magazine, but his wife just had a baby, so they are experiencing the "joys" of sleeplessness, so it might be a little bit before he can follow up. Congratulations to them!

Neil Lundberg, Ph.D., CTRS contacted me regarding the impact of MMORPG on marital status, and was kind enough to share the research paper. He is yet another person I need to follow up with from my stack of backlog.

Sarah Brescia contacted me regarding the media's representation of tabletop RPG. Unfortunately I wasn't able to reply at the time, and I suspect my delayed reply misses her deadline needs, but I still hope to follow up with her as the backlog clears.

* Greg Smith is working on his dissertation on RPGs and self-efficacy.

Kirk Baldwin contacted me regarding their game-centric website, http://www.kingdomintheswamp.com asking permission to share RPG Research papers on their site, as well as their development of their own RPG system. I still need to follow up with them as well.

Aharon Varady contacted me regarding his work on developmental issues in role-playing for children and young adolescents in Jewish Education, hoping to be part of a community of scholars thinking about role-playing as praxis (putting theories into action).

My research report (but in a journalism format due to not having gone through an IRB), Research Questionnaire on Gender Bias in the Gaming Community & Industry (164 respondents), is still waiting in the queue as well. Dr. Bowman kindly still has left the door open for me to submit it to their WyrdCon magazine on the journalism side, as soon as I can. Many apologies to everyone for the ongoing delay in releasing the interesting information.

Speaking of Dr Sarah Lynne Bowman, I finally managed to meet her online via Google+ Hangout (After many months of just email and Facebook contact), when we were both part of a panel on The therapeutic use of Live-Action Role-Playing (LARP) hosted by Kristin Brumley. I was honored to be asked to join in the discussion, and very much enjoyed hearing Dr. Bowman's insights, as well as the experiences of the others. See the blog on the RPG Research website for links to the archived video (over 2 hours of interesting discussion!). Sarah has been an invaluable resource, and kind enough to help guide me through various hurdles as I try to navigate various approaches to research and publication.

Today I was contacted by someone working in the Georgia, USA penitentiary system. While many states ban inmates from activities such as RPG, apparently Georgia does not, and this individual is hoping to propose the development and implementation of a structured group activity for inmates using non-violent RPG for potential benefits to inmates.

About 2 months ago, as part of my classes at Eastern Washington University (EWU), Therapeutic Recreation Program Planning, I was able to design a complete program plan and activity using an adapted LARP for the benefit of toddler-age Autism-spectrum and neurologically normal peers. I still have to "sterilize" the information in the program design papers, and then submit for approval by the university for me to be able to publish the papers and experience, but hopefully that will be ready by this summer.

This quarter I am in both another recreation therapy course (Processes & Techniques in Therapeutic Recreation), as well as an introduction to Play Therapy through the psychology department. In the TR class, I am submitting (tomorrow) a complete role-playing game for Autism Spectrum adults (and other populations) as part of a class assignment. If this passes muster, it may be possible that I may get to implement this RPG adaptation with an actual ASD adult population on the west side of the state!

I modified my Ea RPG Basic rules, to create Hawke's Simple RPG (single d6), and this particular activity is to implement Recreation Education Content Model requirements through a tabletop game. I was partnered with another classmate, and we settled on a 1940s era Chicago sleuth detective mystery setting. I look forward to sharing more information about this as soon as I can.

All of the items in the backlog, keep getting compounded due to the challenges of parenting and school. I keep having other papers (at the university) that I have to get done first, so unfortunately the delay continues, but absolutely at the end of this Spring quarter, as summer holiday begins, I will at the latest catch up on the back log.

I am almost certain I have forgotten at least 2 or 3 other items, and when I come across them, or recall what they are, I will add them here (with an asterisk indicating they were added after the initial posting of this article). What is important for everyone to note is that as you can see, a lot is going on in the world (and this is just my own little sphere as an undergraduate student) related to the potential therapeutic and educational uses of role-playing games.

I hope everyone finds this update useful and encouraging to realize that you are not alone in seeing the great potential of this activity to help other heal and grow.

Many thanks to everyone that has kindly contacted me and/or involved me in their efforts. It is greatly encouraging. I apologize for the delays following up with everyone, but very much appreciate everyone's generosity in keeping me in the loop, and patience in follow up.

Happy Gaming!


* = added after the original posting of this article as I found some that I missed during the first few passes before publishing this article.

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