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Research Question
RQ1: Does video game play
experience correlate with higher-
quality narrative writing ability?
“While a ...
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Virtual tensions fuel narrative tensions

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This study explores the potential correlation between an adolescent's leisurely video game experience and their narrative composition writing ability in a first-semester University writing course. Our data report moderate correlations between students' aggregated video game experience (years spent playing) and their ability to articulate tension and turn, and use proper organization in composition assignments, notably an early-semester diagnostic essay (assigned on the first day of class, prior to formal instruction). Findings suggest that leisurely gameplay might help develop competency with the same creative skills related to written narrative ability, potentially facilitating the learning of these skills in the classroom.

Citation: Bowman, N. D., Baldwin, C., & Jones, J. (2015, November). Virtual tensions fuel narrative tensions: The impact of leisurely video game experience on first-year college students’ observed composition writing ability. Paper presented at the National Communication Association, Las Vegas.

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Virtual tensions fuel narrative tensions

  1. 1. Research Question RQ1: Does video game play experience correlate with higher- quality narrative writing ability? “While a video game controller bears little resemblance to a quill pen, carbon-lead pencil, or laptop keyboard - our study offers preliminary evidence that there are semantic associations between gaming and writing that are not trivial.” Video Game Self-Efficacy Weekly Video Gaming Experience Years Spent Gaming Diagnostic Essay (n = 54) Tension and Turn .074 (-.001) .213 (.133) .394* (.146) Resolution and Conclusion .145 (.114) .195 (.127) .159 (-.019) Description and Detail .133 (.104) .158 (.182) .158 (-.023) Organization .135 (-.198) .295+ (.219) .350* (.159) Overall Evaluation .140 (.009) .243 (.204) .297+ (.077) Narrative Essay (n = 68) Tension and Turn -.195 (-.019) -.021 (-.068) .191 (.031) Resolution and Conclusion -.039 (-.053) .058 (-.133) .128 (.068) Description and Detail .096 (-.097) .143 (-.131) .114 (.106) Organization -.313+ (-.213)+ .095 (.022) .297+ (.217)+ Overall Evaluation -.163 (-.122) 079 (-.101) .236 (.135) The impact of leisurely video game experience on first- year college students’ observed composition writing ability Abstract This study explores the potential correlation between an adolescent's leisurely video game experience and their narrative composition writing ability in a first-semester University writing course. Our data report moderate correlations between students' aggregated video game experience (years spent playing) and their ability to articulate tension and turn, and use proper organization in composition assignments, notably an early-semester diagnostic essay (assigned on the first day of class, prior to formal instruction). Findings suggest that leisurely gameplay might help develop competency with the same creative skills related to written narrative ability, potentially facilitating the learning of these skills in the classroom. “…it is reasonable to expect that students’ experience playing video game might share some relationship with their ability to compose narratives in the first-year college classroom. Such a finding would be relevant insofar as it might suggest that “gamers” might be better-prepared for narrative learning, having had more experience with narrative broadly.” “…three attributes of video game play that make it an activity well-suited to foster an appreciation of and ability to craft narrative. 1. Video games are an interactive and demanding experience that involves the player and several different levels of the experience (Gentile & Anderson, 2003) 2. Video games are inherently unfinished texts that require the player’s active agency in order to be realized as complete narrative experiences (Bowman & Banks, in press; Collins, 2013). 3. Video games are often defined in part by their ability to involve the gamers in the on- screen narrative world (Green, Brock, & Kaufman, 2006). Virtual tensions fuel narrative tensions Nick Bowman Communication Studies John Jones Department of English Sandy Baldwin Department of English For more information, contact: Nicholas.Bowman@mail.wvu.edu @bowmanspartan

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