Thankyou to everyone who read, shared and responded to yesterday's post.
Throngh direct comments on the post, G+ responses, and private messages/emails, I've managed to accumulate over 100 articles on the topics of gaming and roleplaying. Now it's a case of distilling my vague direction of inquiry into a series of specific questions to investigate, each of which might contribute toward a larger pattern of understanding. That's generally how research in academia works... If you pick a topic too vast, the scholars say that you are speaking in generalities and vagueness. If you pick a single topic to small, a different group of scholars claim that you are cherry picking your dataset and narrowing everything down to a focus that happens to match your preconceived agenda. So you work piece by piece, feeding off the work of others, and allowing them to feed off yours (the more referenced your work is by others, the more respected it becomes).
Once I've knocked over a couple of maps for the current commission I'm working on, and then taken a few other personal projects to the next stage, I should have time to get those thoughts in order. Then the research begins.