roziana ibrahim | PhD

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Research

 A Conceptual  Framework  for Supporting Gender Inclusivity in Games


Keywords 

Gender Inclusivity, Gender Inclusive, Game Framework, Game Design Model, Framework, Computer Game, Video Game

Abstract

Gender inclusivity in games is still exploratory and, despite an increase in games and gender research; many challenges remain in designing a more gender-inclusive game. This thesis addresses the problem of how to support gender inclusivity in games by combining theories in games and gender. Existing research in games and gender tend to focus on finding out how each gender plays and their preferences in games. However, there is little evidence that researchers have approached the issue of gender inclusivity in games with the intent of building a cohesive understanding of gender inclusivity in games and the relationships that exist between the different dimensions and components. Consequently, this research has developed a conceptual framework that supports gender inclusivity in games.

A central contribution of this research is the development of a Gender Inclusivity Framework (GIF) to support an integrative approach to understanding and evaluating gender inclusivity in games. The framework enables understanding of the makeup of gender inclusivity in games and measures the level of gender inclusivity in games. Drawing upon established theories and prior research findings, the framework indicates that gender inclusivity in games can be determined by three dimensions: (1) gameplay, which relates to game behaviours; (2) content, which relates to aesthetics elements of a game; and (3) genre, which relates to types of games. Each dimension in the framework is divided into individual components that can be modified or further investigated in future studies. Each component in combination describes the dimension in terms that can be measured and evaluated in empirical studies. Hence, the combination of dimensions and components used to construct the framework provide the description of gender inclusivity in games, which in turn predicts the degree of gender inclusivity in games. 

An example of GIF application has been demonstrated through the development of a novel measuring instrument called Gender Inclusivity Rating Scale (GIRS) and through a series of experiments, the GIRS has been validated and used in a research scenario to investigate the differences in gender inclusivity in game component between a gamer’s gender role orientations.

This thesis presents a detailed discussion of the GIF development, validation and application. For researchers, the GIF provides a common framework in which to conceptualise their research and make it easier to see how individual variables fit into the larger picture. For game designers, the GIF enables deconstruction of the concept of gender inclusivity in games into smaller, conceptually distinct and manageable components to guide the design of gender inclusivity in games.

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Thesis in one file

A Conceptual Framework for Supporting Gender Inclusivity in Games

Thesis by Chapters

1 Introduction

2 Related Work in Games and Gender

3 Development of the Gender Inclusivity Framework (GIF)

4 Evaluation of the Gender Inclusivity Framework (GIF)

5 Development and Validation if the Gender Inclusivity Rating Scale (GIRS)

6 Investigating Gender Role Orientation and Gender Inclusivity in Games

7 Discussion

8 Conclusion and Future Work.  

Date: 18th April 2011 


 A Conceptual Framework for Gender-Inclusivity in Games


Keyword(s)

Gender Inclusivity, Gender Inclusive, Game Framework, Game Design Model, Framework, Computer Game, Video Game 

Abstract

Despite the dramatic growth of gender and games research, many challenges remain in designing a more gender-inclusive game. This report addresses the problem of how to apply the concept of gender-inclusivity into game design. A central contribution of the research is the development of a gender-inclusivity framework.

The conceptual framework is founded on the analysis and synthesized information from related theories and research. It demonstrates how the concept of gender-inclusivity can be defined and expressed in three key components: 1) genre, which indicates the type of game, (2) gameplay, which describes the game behaviour e.g. conflict resolution, feedback, challenge and flexibility, (3) aesthetics content, which describes the game content, including character/avatar, music, storyline and game world graphics.

This framework can be use as a reference point by providing a common vocabulary for discussing issues of gender-inclusivity i.e. literature, methods and results. In addition to that, it serves as a boundary of what constitutes gender-inclusivity in games. Subsequently, it acts as a filtering tool for what is relevant and not relevant to gender-inclusivity in games. Two novel applications of the gender-inclusivity framework are presented.

The first is a measuring instrument called the Gender-Inclusivity Rating Scale (GIRS). The GIRS instrument was designed to assess the degree of gender-inclusiveness in a game. The second application extends the notion of gender-inclusivity to design practice. The Gender-Inclusive Game Design Model (GIGaDM) guides designers in the design process. It helps to deconstruct the overall gender-inclusivity design tasks into smaller, conceptually distinct and manageable tasks. Finally, the direction of future work is outlined.

 Download the abstract. Contact me if you would like a copy of the mini thesis.

Date: 11th July 2009 

A Model for Gender-Inclusivity in Games


Keyword(s)

Gender Inclusivity, Gender Inclusive, Game Framework, Game Design Model, Framework, Computer Game, Video Game

Abstract

This report describes the theoretical framework based on previous work and the results draw attention to existing issues in gender and games. One of the problems found in current studies is the tendency of games to be on either extreme end of the design styles. Many popular games are designed for the male players in mind and deter female players due to somewhat excessive masculine design, e.g. violence and hyper-sexualized characters. Although there are some efforts in designing games for the female market, these custom-made games were too feminized e.g. wedding theme; shopping; and in pink colour, which, consequently, exclude the male players. Designing a gender-neutral game is important to ensure that both genders are learning as well as the other.

The proposed study aims to design a model for gender-inclusivity in games. It will be based on a critical analysis of current game design models and finding principles that represent the composition of a game design model. Based on this, gender-inclusive elements will be incorporated and a new model will be proposed. The model will help determine whether a game is gender-specific, which contains extreme elements of either gender, or gender-inclusive, contains elements that might appeal to both male and female players. The model will be implemented through a series of game experiments and the results will used to improve the model, consequently contribute to the game design theory. 

Download the abstract. Contact me if you would like a copy of the progress report.

Date: 1st December 2008 

Dr. Roziana Ibrahim

website: http://zia-ibrahim.webs.com

portfolio: http://zia-portfolio.webs.com/
email:  [email protected]    
skype:  zia_ibrahim

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