Current Research: Benefits of Pokémon Go

Myself and Dr Catherine Flick are currently carrying out research into the mental health benefits of playing Pokémon Go! We’re interviewing players in the field, and also asking people to complete an online survey, which can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PokemonMH

The below is detailed information about the research that you may want to consider before taking part. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

What is the study about?

Pokémon Go took the world by storm following its launch in summer 2016. As well as being a fun game to play there have been some reports of it encouraging exercise, social interaction, and improving the mental health of players. This study is looking at what mental health benefits players receive from Pokémon Go, and to understand how the format of the game itself contributes to this (if at all).

What does the study involve?

We are asking individuals who play Pokémon Go to complete an online questionnaire. This will ask about your experiences of playing Pokémon Go, if you feel it has benefitted you in any way, and what form those benefits have taken. As the research is related to mental health, the questionnaires will touch on this subject. However, you do not have to disclose any personal information that you do not feel comfortable sharing, and do not have to answer the questions if you do not wish to.

Why have I been chosen?

We are approaching Pokémon Go players through various online communities to take part in the questionnaire.

Do I have to take part?

It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part.  If you do decide to take part you will be given this information sheet to read and be asked to sign a consent form.  If you decide to take part you are still free to withdraw at any time and without giving a reason.

What if I agree to take part and then change my mind?

You can withdraw from the study at any time, without giving a reason, through non-completion of the questionnaire. As survey data is anonymous, we will not be able to remove any of the information following the completion of the survey. But individuals will not be able to be identified by any of the data.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

As the work is discussing mental health, there is the possibility that some individuals may find this upsetting or triggering. We have ensured that all participants will be fully informed of the topic before deciding if they want to take part or not. Additionally the questions are phrased so that individuals do not have to disclose mental health needs if they do not wish to. Additionally, if participation is difficult or distressing, one of the research team is a mental health first aider, and can provide support if needed.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

Aside from getting to talk about what you enjoy about playing Pokémon Go, the research hopes to identify specific aspects of this type of game that support individuals mental health. By improving understanding of these issues, there is the possibility of improving support regarding mental health.

What if something goes wrong? / Who can I complain to?

If you have a complaint regarding anything to do with this study, you can initially approach the lead investigator.  If this achieves no satisfactory outcome, you should then contact the Administrator for the Faculty Research Ethics Committee, Research & Commercial Office, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, 1.25 Edith Murphy House, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH or hlsfro@dmu.ac.uk

Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential?

All information which is collected about you during the course of the research will be kept on a password protected database and is strictly confidential. You will be given a pseudonym which will be used instead of your name. Any identifiable information you may give will be removed and anonymized, and all quoted materials will have all identifying information removed.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

It is hoped that a number of journal articles will be written from the findings of this work, which may be accessible to you. If you would like to be informed of the outcomes of the study and any writings that follow, please let a member of the research team know and we will keep you informed.

Who is organising and funding the research?

The research is being organised and funded by De Montfort University.

Who has reviewed the study?

This study has been reviewed and approved by De Montfort University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

Contact for Further Information

If you have further questions or would like to discuss any aspect of the research, please contact Catherine Flick: cflick@dmu.ac.uk or Jessica Urwin: Jessica.urwin3@dmu.ac.uk

Thank you!

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About Jess Urwin

Lecturer in social work at De Montfort University, youth justice researcher, musician, crafter, constant reader.
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