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Conducting empirical research in virtual worlds: experiences from two projects in Second Life

Minocha, Shailey; Tran, Minh and Reeves, Ahmad (2010). Conducting empirical research in virtual worlds: experiences from two projects in Second Life. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 3(1) pp. 3–21.

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At The Open University in the UK, we have conducted empirical qualitative research in Second Life, a virtual world. The first project is in the education domain in which we are investigating the designs of learning spaces in Second Life, while the second project is related to shopping and consumer behavior of users in Second Life. In this paper, we discuss our experiences of conducting empirical research in virtual worlds with a specific focus on the following aspects: ethical norms, real-world and virtual identities, privacy of the participants, communication modalities (voice, text and use of gestures), logistics of conducting user-based studies, and skills and training needs of researchers. Although our experiences are based on conducting empirical research in Second Life, we hope that our experiences and discussions in this paper will also be useful for researchers who aim to conduct research in avatar-based virtual worlds other than Second Life.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
ISSN: 1941-8477
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetJISC
Not SetNot SetFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Extra Information: The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is an online, open access academic journal. Special edition 'The Researcher's Toolbox'.
Keywords: 3D learning spaces; communication modalities; consumer behavior; empirical research; ethical guidelines for 3D research; Second Life; three-dimensional learning spaces; virtual identity; virtual worlds; virtual world research
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Computing & Communications
Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 25134
Depositing User: Shailey Minocha
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2010 12:49
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 18:48
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