RPG Optimization Research Disclaimers
Summary disclaimers about role-playing game research studies on RPG optimization
Of course there are so many other variables, not the least of which includes the person that is the Game Master and the personalities of the players, which are just a few of the many confounds in trying to systematically narrow down correlative and causal effects from changing a key variable to try to maximize the results in the enjoyment reports/observations from/of the participants.
The information posted in these documents is based both on personal and others' observations (most of which include thousands of hours of recorded RPG sessions), verbal feedback, and formal assessment forms from participants.
In the future, pending finances and staffing availability, I hope to test all of these claims with more formal controlled research (some day).
Scores of variables were taken into consideration and repeatedly tweaked to try to find some level of causal changes, but at this stage are probably only at best correlative, about the immersion & enjoyment levels of participants.
There are plenty of potential confounds here, and so every statement should have that taken into consideration that these should be further researched with more rigorous techniques.
However, implementation of these observations does seem to have lead to consistently repeatable higher assessment & observation scores.
I hope others find this useful for trying to optimize their own RPG sessions.
Much of this research was in non-therapeutic and non-educational settings, just standard leisure activity of tabletop role-playing games. Others are from my many years of programs with clients, students, and facilitators.
Though some educational settings, and some therapy-related issues are mentioned in these documents, others focus on those (educational & therapeutic focused) topics, they are not the primary focus of these documents (unless otherwise specified).
Some of these considerations in these documents include some of the people in these programs were known to be people with diagnoses of Autism spectrum, social phobias, disruptive personality types, etc.
While there are more scientifically rigorous studies listed, under way, and planned in the future, including an upcoming book in 2019, these documents are far more variable in formality, but still provide useful data and insights to help others trying to find ways to maximize the RPG experience for their participants.
Since questions on these topics come up pretty much every month, I will try to fill in the blanks for the huge amount of data gleaned over the decades.
These documents will hopefully, over time, provide many answers to people trying to optimize the experience for their players. Some portions of these documents may eventually be merged into the FAQs section of the site.