The educational potential of games has captured the ongoing interest of scholars and educators who have sought to understand when, how, and under what conditions games support the teaching and learning process. General knowledge of how games support literacy, scientific thinking, or social learning has been theorized and researched, but some applications of game-based learning remain unexplored. One area where much remains to be learned is within online doctoral education and particularly in the poorly understood area of research methods education. In this study, three doctoral students and an instructor collaboratively field-tested a set of instructional activities within World of Warcraft that were designed to promote understanding of qualitative research methods. A duoethnographic approach was used to promote dual-perspective dialogue about the merits and challenges of using online gaming environments as field sites where research methods can be practiced and developed. Results illuminate merits, challenges, and areas of development as researchers that surfaced while completing the research methods activities. Directions for further research are suggested.


Online Doctoral Education, Distance Education, Research Methods Education, Duoethnography, Massively Multiplayer Online Games

Author Bio(s)

Chareen Snelson is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: csnelson@boisestate.edu.

Christopher I Wertz, Kimberly Onstott, and Jason Bador are doctoral students in the Doctor of Education in Educational Technology program at Boise State University.


We would like to thank Ron Chenail and Gary Skolits for constructive feedback on the manuscript. Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.