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Sarah Hewitt: Ideas and re-stating what you already know just for my own benefit.

I would like to try and understand why non-male gamers are still subjected to on-line abuse within the gaming environment from the twin disciplines of psychology (specifically feminist psychology and computer science (specifically, network science). For this assignment, I don’t actually have to carry out the research, rather I have to write a report on the specific approach each discipline might take to any problem – to understand the essence of each discipline you might say – and then consider how each might be applied to the topic for consideration.

I can see that this is meant to encourage me to do three things. First of all, to develop a deeper understanding of two separate disciplines; secondly to introduce me to the world of independent research; and finally to help me to discover (or eliminate!) fields of interest. I’ve tried to choose a topic that I find interesting, together with a discipline I’m already a little familiar with together with one about which I know almost nothing, but am going to have to get to grips with.

The subject was prompted by a comment made on twitter by @glinner (Graham Linehan, the writer of, among other things, the brilliant IT Crowd). He had been asked to use the #gamergate tag on twitter, but he refused because of the misogyny within the whole gaming industry. A bit of investigation confirmed that some female journalists writing about video games had been threatened with death (and worse – yes, there is worse than death) simply because, it seems, they had dared to know more and make their greater knowledge known to the wider gaming public. How very dare they.

So far, I’ve got two books to read: Atkinson & Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology and Computer and Network Organization – An Introduction by Maarten Van Steen and Henk Sips. I suspect that the computer science book will have nothing to say outside of the design of, and mathematics behind, networks. There doesn’t seem to be much out there about network science, but if anyone can suggest something suitably academic, please feel free to do so! Similarly, any suggestions regarding psychology / feminist psychology would also be most welcome!

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