Research Experiences and Plans

Studies of Online Communities

Young people are increasingly engaging with an extensive network of online, interest driven communities. I am interested in exploring the kinds work, thinking, and learning people are engaging in as they participate in these communities and the elements and structures of the systems which invite and sustain participation. Before starting in the PhD Program at GMU I had conducted research on the community of gamers who modify the game Civilization. (See my paper in the journal Simulation & Gaming). Last year, under the guidance of Dr. Kim Sheridan, I submitted human subjects documents and developed a review of literature for a new project to begin a study of the practices of the RPG Maker Community. I also composed a review of literature situating this study in work on new literacies and 21st century skills.  A few months later, I blogged about some preliminary results of the survey I conducted. I then presented a research poster analyzing the interviews I conducted for this project at the Games Learning and Society Conference in June. This work resulted in the publication of an article in the peer reviewed journal On the Horizon.

Plans for further work: I am currently on planning a research project that will explore Etsy, an online community that focuses on scaffolding users into selling hand made arts and crafts online.

Competencies: qualitative research methods, interviewing, administrating a simple survey, literature review, discourse analysis,

Competencies for Which Additional Preparation is Needed

Additional training in qualitative research  methods

Research Presentations and Publications to Date

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Owens, T (2011) Social videogame creation: lessons from RPG Maker, On the Horizon, Vol. 19 Iss: 1, pp.52 – 61 DOI: 10.1108/10748121111107708

Owens, T. (2010). Madame Curie above the fold: Divergent perspectives on Curie’s visit to the United States in the American press. Science Communication. doi:10.1177/1075547010379578

Owens, T. (2010). Modding the history of science: Values and habits of mind in modder discussions of Sid Meier’s Civilization. Simulation & Gaming. 10.1177/1046878110366277

Owens, T. (2009). Going to school with Madame Curie and Mr. Einstein: Gender roles in children’s science biographies. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4(4), 929-943. doi: 10.1007/s11422-009-9177-6

Peer Reviewed Conference Proceedings and Encyclopedia Entries

Owens, T. (in press). Book communities. In G. Barnett (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Networking. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Owens, T. (2008). Zotero: Making student research transparent. In Peterson, (Ed.),  Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning (pp. 258-262). Madison WI.

Chmiel, M., & Owens, T. (2006). Anti-evolution literature and its hidden pedagogical value: Confronting the creationism dilemma. In Osborne,J (Ed.), Proceedings of the Eighth International History, Philosophy, and Sociology in Science Teaching Conference (pp. 50-61). Leeds, UK.


Owens, T. (2010). Fairfax County: A Postcard History Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub.

Peer Reviewed Conference Presentations

Owens, T. (2008, November). The face of American science: Exploring the history of the National Academy of Sciences Einstein Memorial. Presented at the 35th Annual Conference on Washington, D.C. Historical Studies, Washington, DC.

Owens, T. (2007, April). Climbing our family tree: The untimely birth of children’s books about evolution, 1920-1955. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Il.

Owens, T., & Chmiel, M. (2006, April). Mapping the landscape of gender in science through children’s biographies of Marie Curie and Albert Einstein. Presented at the National Association of Research in Science Teaching Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Owens, T. (2006, November). Going to school with Curie and Einstein: Gendering the history and nature of science. Presented at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society, Vancouver, British Columbia

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