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Playing in the digital sandbox: An exploration of social play behaviours in Minecraft

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Playing in the digital sandbox: An exploration of social play behaviours in Minecraft

Pauls, Katherine (2017) Playing in the digital sandbox: An exploration of social play behaviours in Minecraft. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This qualitative study looks at children’s social play behaviours during online Minecraft play, focusing on the research questions: 1. What types of social behaviours are taking place in
digital play? 2. Do social play behaviours look different in digital play than in Parten’s (1932) foundational study? Through observation of four online play sessions of five participants, ages 7-10, and follow-up interviews, a rich description of social play behaviours was recorded and six play episodes were selected for further analysis. The researcher began by addressing how nonplay behaviours can still be categorized as play in a virtual world. By using Parten’s social play theories as a framework for interpreting what was observed, the researcher was able to give
examples of all six social play categories outlined by Parten (1932): non-play, onlooker, solitary, parallel, associative and cooperative. Four thematic findings emerged: the importance of
communication in a virtual world, rapid transitions during play, YouTube’s influence on onlooker play and the cognitive potential of solitary play. The researcher concluded that with minor adjustments, Parten’s classic categories can be applied to this example of online Minecraft play. This study adds to the small pool of research on social play behaviours during online play
and has implications for teachers, parents and video game designers.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Pauls, Katherine
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Child Studies
Date:31 July 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Chang-Kredl, Sandra
ID Code:982723
Deposited By: Katherine Pauls
Deposited On:09 Nov 2017 17:23
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55
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