Raw Data from Research on Gender Bias in Gaming Community and Industry

by Hawke Robinson published 2015/08/17 00:25:00 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:29:13-07:00
Since it is taking too long to get around to the formal analysis and paper write-up, I am posting much of the raw data here (without the comments for now), without much in the way of analysis. At some point I hope to provide a more formal document, but hopefully the numbers speak well for themselves and will be helpful for those interested in the topic. This is not the complete data set, but the more significant aspects from the very large total data.


Abstract Title: Self-report Questionnaire on Experiences of Gender Bias in the Role-Playing Gaming Industry and Community.


Abstract Text

The report provides the initial results and analysis of the first stages of an ongoing series of studies regarding the perception of gender bias in the role-playing (and related) gaming industry and community. A series of questionnaires were disseminated at various gaming locations and events in the greater Spokane, Washington area, with a series of questions about the participant's experiences, observations, and opinions related to gender-based bias and/or harassment. Every individual seen at various locations was approached without initial filtering (other than the fact that the participants were at a gaming facility or event). Approximately 200 individuals were approached and verbally asked the question, “Have you ever participated in any form of role-playing game, tabletop, live-action, or computer-based”, if they responded negatively they did not qualify to complete the questionnaire. Iif they responded affirmatively, then they were asked, “Would you be willing to complete a brief questionnaire on the topic”. Of all those that answered affirmatively, only 3 declined to complete the questionnaire. The responses between those identifying as “female”, “male”, or “other” were tracked to compare and contrast regarding any potential gender differences in perceived experiences.


The questionnaire included 11 questions covering both the gaming industries and communities related to tabletop role-playing gaming, live-action role-playing, online gaming, war-gaming, and collectible/trading card games.

A total of 164 questionnaires were completed by participants, with approximately 25% opting to provide additional comments on the back. Gender response was 46% female, 49% male, 5.3% "other", and 2% no selection.


Implemented By

W.A. Hawkes-Robinson, a retired computer scientist, and at the time of the survey, a senior undergraduate student at Eastern Washington University (EWU) working on interdisciplinary degrees in Recreation Therapy, Music Therapy, and Research Psychology, and founder of RPG Research atwww.rpgresearch.com. This activity was not part of his studies, nor in any endorsed or associated with EWU. This survey was undertaken by Hawkes-Robinson as a personal enquiry, and could be considered a market-research survey if needing classification, though other disciplines may find the results of interest.



This project did not undergo IRB review. Though the project founder was at the time an active student at Eastern Washington University (EWU), working on an undergraduate interdisciplinary degree, this project was not affiliated with the university and did not qualify for Institutional Research Board (IRB) oversight by the university, the state of Washington (did not use any state-related resources), nor require private IRB involvement. Hawkes-Robinson did contact the EWU IRB staff, as well as Washington state IRB, during the Summer of 2013, to confirm that he neither required their oversight, nor was required to apply for a written waiver.



Several gaming locations in the Eastern Washington area, during the Spring and Summer of 2013, including:

  • Gamers' Haven - A game and hobby retail store in Spokane Valley, Washington.

  • Merlyn's - A game & hobby retail store in Spokane, Washington.

  • Weekly tabletop role-playing gaming groups (run by Hawkes-Robinson) formed by public advertisement, none of the participants were previously known by project implementer, and were asked to complete the surveys immediately upon meeting.

  • Tolkien Moot 2013 - An annual Tolkien-based gaming convention in north Spokane, Washington.
  • Spocon 2013 - A science fiction convention in Downtown Spokane, Washington.


To date the project has only taken place in the greater Spokane, Washington, USA area. Hawkes-Robinson has indicated plans to implement the same study in other locations in the future, at larger gatherings to provide a larger sample, and in other geographic areas. Currently planned locations include upcoming conventions in Seattle Washington, California, and other locations.


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Additional Notes/Comments

The phrasing of the questions were reviewed by 3 people I knew with Masters in Social Work. This was done to try to vet the phrasing of the questions so as to limit the risk of offending or confusing people.

There were three versions of the survey that were actually used, versions B, G, & H.

Version B was not anonymous, and so this was quickly modified with version G. Version H fixed some minor typos and layout issues.

Here are links to the PDF versions of the 3 questionnaires:

  • Version B Questionnaire PDF
  • Version G Questionnaire PDF
  • Version H Questionnaire PDF





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