Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu

Keywords

gaming, literacy, media literacy, scale construction, video games

Abstract

This thesis is the first attempt to construct a standardized measure of literacy for the medium of video games, filling a gap in the literature by synthesizing various items of skills, behaviors, and affective components from existent studies and determining their correlations through analyzation of survey data. The five categories that were derived from conceptual review and factor analysis have high measures of internal consistency: Information and Systems Management; Exploration and Enjoyment; Teamwork; Design; and Socialization. To test for external consistency and reliability, the proposed gaming literacy model was compared to the Novak and Hoffman (1997) construction of flow, using the three primary components of Challenge, Skill, and Play. Flow is the ultimate level of optimal experience possible with any activity, so it was assumed that high levels of self-reported literacy would coincide with similarly elevated scores in concern with the flow phenomenon. The data shows that, indeed, there is a positive and statistically significant relationship between the two constructs. Nomological validity tests between males and females were conducted post-hoc, using the available data. The intended use for this scale is to establish a baseline measurement system for self-report methods of assessing literacy with video games. Future research should attempt to correlate the scale to actual gaming activity, test the importance of each component in an experimental setting, and determine the discriminate validity by comparing it to scales that have been established for other forms of digital literacy.

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