Qualitative Research Blog Post

Aracely Portillo, Ethan Graupmann, Kent Snodgrass

In a blog post, answer your research question (this could be, simply, “why do you WoW?”). You should have the following parts in your blog post:

  1. Motivation for a research question. Besides “the professor told us too,” why would it be interesting to ask the question you ask?

Understanding why players begin and continue to stick by World of Warcraft and similar MMORPGs can give us insight into what players want out of a game, what experiences they may go through to end up playing these games.


  1. Research Question that you looked at.
  • Why do you play WoW?
  • Why do you continue to play WoW?
  1. Coding scheme/process. E.g., “We used an inductive coding scheme using keyword matching. Our primary keywords were “family” and “friends” and derivatives of those words. In addition…”

We used inductive coding based on the frequencies or patterns within the data. We used keywords in an attempt to locate relevant data in order to be sorted into categories. We combed the data with keywords like “stress” “friend(s)” and various others. Some of the categories that we created in response to the data for question 1 was:

Family/Friends // Advertisements // Distraction // Stress Relief

Categories for the Data in Question 2 included

Competitive Aspects // Social Interactions // Environment, Beauty // Stress Relief // Time Investment // Cost efficiency

In order to keep our data points organized, we also recorded the level, class, race, and name of the character or person interviewed, when possible. While some data points lacked proper records of these, we kept them categorized, but held them to a lower credibility to properly recorded data points.

  1. How large was the total dataset? E.g. how many forums did you code? How many in-game interviews? How many outside-of-game interviews?

-Total data set was 17

-We had 12 in game interviews that we coded.

-7 forums coded

-1 out of game coded

  1. Key findings from your analysis
      1. Pattern claim. E.g., “People appeared to like WoW because they like games that begin with World”
        1. Most players in-game appeared to have been introduced to WoW by an outside aspect, whether Family and Friends (4 Interviews), or through advertisements online (3 Interviews).
        2. Most players continue to play World of Warcraft because of the beauty and admiration they hold for the game (4 Forum, 1 Interview), because they enjoy socializing (2 Forum, 1 Interview), because of the time that was invested (1 Forum, 2 Interviews), and because of the competitive aspect of playing the game (2 Forum, 1 Interview).
      2. Pattern number (of the 15 interviews, 5 people mentioned x). What constitutes a pattern in a sample of 15 or 30 or 100? It’s up to you to make the case. Note: Qualitative research will always have lower consensus because of its open-ended nature.
        1. Of the 17 interviews, 5 people mentioned that they enjoy/play the game because of the amount of beauty and admiration they have towards it.
        2. 4 out of 17 players said they were first introduced and began playing WoW either through family or friends.
      3. Exemplar quote or quotes.


  • “I have a friend who started playing in vanilla, the game always seemed interesting to me. I decided to start playing during the Warlords of Draenor expansion.” – Kieleronys, lv24 Blood Elf Warlock
  • “Warcraft III and The Frozen Throne were still fresh in my memory back then. Logging in for the first time I got a sense of anticipation for when I would finally see first-hand the battlefields and environments in which that epic story unfolded. I quickly became overwhelmed by the massive world they had created, so much so that I didn’t even recognize Org when I first saw it. I thought it was a high-level dungeon crawling with uber-powered mobs waiting to stomp me to dust. And I will never forget the first time I walked into the Undercity throne room and heard the whispers of Arthas’ betrayal. Back then, just being in Azeroth post WC3 was fun.” -Venjin, Lv120 Troll Warrior
  • “I’ve been playing for 5 years I continue to play it because I have a lot of time invested to it and it’s a cheap form of entertainment.” -Nyalmi 120 Void Elf
  • “I also play WoW because the people, they’re so nice and friendly. Heck even the mean people. I love everyone! What’s not to love about this community?” -Arrudek 110 Tauren Death Knight


  1. Now that you know this, make a suggestion for future research (and possibly name a method that would capture that). e.g., Blizzard asked the question “how do you WoW?” Is that a question that could follow from your current research?

A few possible avenues for future research could be trying to answer the questions:

“What makes the World of Warcraft aesthetic so appealing to its player base?”

“Why do experienced WoW players sometimes feel entrenched by the amount of time they have invested in the game?”

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