ABC's Polling Expert, Gary Langer, Pokes Holes In "Pathological Video-Game Use" Study


Posted April 22, 2009 - By r_pad

ABC's Polling Expert, Gary Langer, Pokes Holes In ABC News' director of polling, Gary Langer, has ripped apart Douglas Gentile's recent study on pathological video-game use. It seems that the polling methodology was suspect. Langer said:

"The problem: This study was conducted among members of an opt-in online panel -- individuals who sign up to click through questionnaires on the Internet in exchange for points redeemable for cash and gifts. There are multiple methodological challenges with these things (I’ve previously discussed some) but the most basic -- and I think least arguable -- is that they’re based on a self-selected 'convenience sample,' rather than a probability sample. And you need a probability sample to compute sampling error." 

Furthermore, Gentile wasn't even aware of how the data was being collected:

"Prof. Gentile got back to me this afternoon. He said he was unaware the data in his study came from a convenience sample -- 'I guess I’d assumed they had gathered the population initially as part of a random probability sample' -- and that, relying on his own background in market research, he’d gone ahead and calculated an error margin for it. 'I missed that when I was writing this up. That is an error then on my part.'"

According to Langer, Gentile's project director, Dana Markow wasn't aware of any sampling error claims:

"Markow said Gentile had shared his findings with Harris Interactive, but that she didn’t recall seeing a claim of sampling error in the materials he provided."

While many of you found the study dubious by nature, it turns out that the execution was faulty too. Hopefully there won't be too many flawed studies that paint gaming in a negative light.

Source via Game Politics

Tags: Videogames
ABC's Polling Expert, Gary Langer, Pokes Holes In "Pathological Video-Game Use" Study


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