One of my colleagues said once that, at least at certain level, you should emphathize your object of research. He was right. I wouldn't study chess, if I wouldn't love to play it. But, I must say that chess, and in my case, internet chess, has been a fascinating arena!
I just published a case study on Chess.com in a Finnish yearbook of game studies. The link is here:
The actual text is, unfortunately, only in Finnish, but the abstract is to be found also in English. Warm thanks to all Finnish players, who were willing to tell about their playing on Chess.com.
I will continue the project in near future. The next step is international study. If there are other researchers on this site with analogical ideas, please don't hesitate to contact.