Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Exploring self-regulation of more and less expert college-age video game players: A sequential explanatory design

Meryem Yilmaz Soylu, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study explored the self-regulation of recreational video game playing by college age video game players of varying expertise levels. A sequential explanatory mixed methods research design (QUAN→qual) was used. In the quantitative phase of the study, participants were asked to complete the "Video Game Playing Survey" (VGPS) comprised of three sections: a) General Information, which addressed general video gaming habits and expertise levels; b) How You Play Your Video Games, which used the Playing My Video Game Scale (PMyVGS) to measure self-regulation in video game playing; and c) About Yourself, which collected demographic information of the participant. To classify participants into expertise levels, hierarchical and then k-means cluster analyses were applied to five items in the General Information section of the VGPS. Three expertise levels were detected: expert, moderately expert and non-expert. Since exploratory factor analysis revealed that PMyVGS was a one-dimensional scale, overall PMyVGS scores were analyzed via one way analysis of variance to compare self-regulation of video game players in the expertise groups. Analyses showed that expert video game players used self-regulation processes more than the moderately expert and the non-experts. Likewise the moderately expert players applied the processes more than the non-experts. To follow up quantitative findings, semi-structured interviews were conducted with selected participants at each of the expertise levels. Qualitative analyses revealed five themes which included 1) characteristics of expert video gamers, 2) conditions to play a video game, 3) figuring out a game, 4) how gamers act and,5) game context. First theme reflected participants' descriptions about characteristics of expert video game players. Second theme explained places, times and devices that participants played most often. Third theme reflected how video game players attempted to figure out game rules and context, monitor and control their play and use prior experiences. Fourth theme involved statements about video game players' goals, tactics, the way they seek help, and adapt their play for the next game play. Last theme referred to how a game environment supports game player's monitoring processes, whether video game players shared their gaming experiences with others and whether they use similar strategies for both learning and game playing. Together, the quantitative and qualitative findings indicated that playing a video game is a highly self-regulated activity and that becoming an expert video gamer, in fact, mobilizes multiple sets of skills and processes including self-regulation. These findings are promising for educators who desire to encourage self-regulation, because they may indicate that is possible to support their students via recreational video games by recognizing that their play includes processes of self-regulation.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Mass communications|Educational technology

Recommended Citation

Yilmaz Soylu, Meryem, "Exploring self-regulation of more and less expert college-age video game players: A sequential explanatory design" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3615276.