Making Sense of Entertainment in Virtual Worlds

In September of 2008, with the ink on my doctorate barely dry, I jumped a plane and landed in Denmark.  I had accepted a post-doctorate research fellowship at Roskilde University with the Virtual Worlds Research Project.  My main research project with the group would turn out to be a qualitative experiment to understand how people make sense of virtual worlds as entertainment sources compared to other types of media technologies.  An overview of the idea behind my research can still be found on the project’s blog.  A more detailed discussion of the research design and the analysis approach.

This video shows what it was like to be in the Nintendo Wii part of the study, and is an indication of what’s to come in this post.  

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Two Men and a Second Life

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I spent two years working on a post-doc research fellowship for the Virtual Worlds Research Group at Roskilde University in Denmark.  During my time there, I conducted an experiment on how people make sense of two types of virtual worlds and compared these sense-makings to those while engaging with films and console-based video games.  The methodology of the study has been published at the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, and analyses of the results will be found in upcoming issues of Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research and Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.

What has not yet been published are the stories constructed from how people communicated their sense-making of these engagings.  The people were interviewed on their experiences using Dervin’s Sense-Making Methodology: the interviewing technique generated in-depth recollections of their experiences, such that the person’s experiential timeline — the moment-by-moment of their engagings — was evident.  Using their own words, I reconstructed their moment-by-moment experience to create a narrative of their engagings.

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