This volume presents a wide range of methodological strategies that are designed to take into account the complex, emergent, and continually shifting character of virtual worlds. It interrogates how virtual worlds emerge as objects of study through the development and application of various methodological strategies. Virtual worlds are not considered objects that exist as entities with fixed attributes independent of our continuous engagement with them and interpretation of them. Instead, they are conceived of as complex ensembles of technology, humans, symbols, discourses, and economic structures, ensembles that emerge in ongoing practices and specific situations.
A broad spectrum of perspectives and methodologies is presented: Actor-Network-Theory and post-Actor-Network-Theory, performativity theory, ethnography, discourse analysis, Sense-Making Methodology, visual ethnography, multi-sited ethnography, and Social Network Analysis.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Approaching the study of virtual worlds Ursula Plesner and Louise Phillips 2. Virtual Worlds as emerging cyber-hybrids: Accounting for the travel between research sites with Actor-Network-Theory Ursula Plesner 3. Presence in Virtual Worlds: Mediating a Distributed, Assembled and Emergent Object of Study Dixi Louise Strand 4. Understanding Cyborgism: Using Photo-Diary Interviews to Study Performative Identity in Second Life Ulrike Schultze 5. Designing Childhoods: Ethnographic Engagements in and Around of Virtual Worlds Minna Ruckenstein 6. A Situated Video Interview Method: Understanding the Interplay between Human Engagement and the Power of Scripted Animations of a Virtual World Sisse Siggaard Jensen 7. Comparing Novice Users’ Sense-Making Processes in Virtual Worlds: An Application of Dervin's Sense-Making Methodology CarrieLynn D. Reinhard and Brenda Dervin 8. Exploring Stakeholders of Open Source Virtual Worlds through a Multi-method Approach Zeynep Yetis, Robin Teigland and Paul M. Di Gangi
Louise Phillips is Associate Professor in Communication Studies at the Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Roskilde University, Denmark.
Ursula Plesner is Assistant Professor in the Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
"Researching Virtual Worlds offers inspiration, questions to ask, problems to ponder, or points to disagree with for anyone with an interest in what forms today’s audience studies may take." –Sara Mosberg Iversen, MedieKultur Vol 30, No 56 (2014)