Beneficial Interview Effects in Virtual Worlds: A Case Study

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Contribution to Books

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Participation in multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) is becoming a part of the American culture, particularly since virtual worlds were made popular by the advent of Second Life (SL), a three-dimensional world introduced in 2002 in which participants can socialize, create artifacts, and buy and sell. As the use of virtual worlds increases, their importance to educational researchers also increases. The educational community's participation is significant in SL, which lists more than 130 educational organizations with an active presence on its grid (http://edudirectory.secondlife.com). The immersive nature of virtual worlds, along with their cultures and social interactions, also make them fertile ground for research. The procedures to conduct such research are, therefore, an important area of investigation.

This chapter is a case study of qualitative research project conducted in SL in 2008. The case illustrates some of the procedures, benefits, and challenges to consider when conducting qualitative studies in virtual worlds.