Post #4- Credibility Check

When I began this post on research studies, I had no studies in mind so I searched ‘recent study’ on Google until I found something that caught my attention. After scrolling through quite a few pages of results, I found this Forbes article called “New Study Shows That There Is No Link Between Violent Video Games And Aggression In Teenagers.” I chose this article because the headline was a little shocking to me. I had always thought that violent video games did correlate with aggression in teens but I had not done much research on it. This article allowed me to learn more about something I was interested while also checking the credibility of the study mentioned.

The Forbes article, written by Ollie Barder, labels this particular study as “one of the most comprehensive studies on the subject to date.” Barder backs up this claim by saying that this study is different because it ranked the violence in the video games by their PEGI ratings rather than on a subjective perception of the amount of violence. In addition, this study obtained information from parents instead of the teenagers themselves to report aggression levels. The population of the study was approximately 2,008 British fourteen and fifteen year olds and their parents. Barder concludes his article by stating that the study found no link between teenage aggression and violent video games. Not much else was said about the results, so I clicked the link to the full research study.

The link that Forbes says will lead you to the study actually leads you to this page which is another article published about the study. This article is from the University of Oxford and appears on their news page. This was considered newsworthy at Oxford University because the lead researcher who created the study, Andrew Przybylski, is the Director of Research at Oxford. At the end of this news article, which like the Forbes article focuses on the methodology and results of the study, the author links a copy of the full study which can be found here.

AltMetric’s official logo

The original study was published in “Royal Society Open Science” and was conducted by Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein. It was published on February 13, 2019. Their hypothesis was that there was a link between violent games and aggression however the results did not support that hypothesis. The study was published under open access so the entirety of the research is viewable by anyone. Alongside the research paper, Royal Society has provided details like the manuscript acceptance date, the publishing date, the volume and issue it was published in, and a list of all the references used in the paper. More interestingly though, they include a link to AltMetric statistics for the study. I clicked on that link and was led here. The AltMetrics statistics state that this specific study has been picked up by 104 news outlets, mentioned on Twitter by 103 verified scientists, and has received an ‘attention score’ from AltMetric that is in the top 5% of all research outputs that have been scored by the service. These statistics are not stated blindly, however. AltMetric lists all 108 news stories (from the 104 news outlets), and all the tweets that link or mention the research. I briefly read laterally about AltMetrics by first viewing their Wikipedia page found here. By viewing the Wikipedia page’s references, I found that AltMetrics is backed and utilized by many reputable sources like JAMA and Digital Science.

The first thing I wanted to do before accepting these results as credible was to read laterally about the publishing company that runs the journal that publicized this study. To do so, I went to Wikipedia and searched “The Royal Society Publishing” which led me to this page. The Wikipedia entry shows that the Royal Society has a long history. In fact, it claims that the Royal Society published the world’s first scientific journal in 1665. The entry also claims that the Royal Society originated the process of peer review. Unfortunately, when you click on the link that is the reference for that claim it brings you to this page, which is a broken link from the University of Southhampton.

All in all, I believe that this study is reputable. After going upstream and reading laterally about the sources it was published on, I have found that the study was published by a peer-reviewed source, conducted at a reputable University, and given a high impact score by respected data company.

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