Saturday, February 25, 2012

Participant Observation


I enjoyed reading about your Second Life research. The first quote that really caught my eye was when you wrote, "But if Koreans and Swedes really do participate in Second Life differently, that difference will show up within Second Life itself; it will be amendable to ethnographic investigation inworld" (63). You continued by explaining how SL by nature creates its own culture because while it is still adopting real world customs and issues, they are taking place within the virtual world. It is for this reason that ethnographic research works in SL. Participant observation was obviously the method of choice in conducting the research and I enjoyed reading of your integration into society. You made it a point to be conscious of the fact that you are an outsider and must learn how things work. You even made it a note to say, "ethnographic knowledge is situated and partial; ... so many SL residents spent more time inworld than I, and every resident had some kind of knowledge about the virtual world that I lacked." I think it would be interesting to see what your research would have produced had you continued participating in SL for an extended period of time, maybe even currently still partaking. The last thing I would like to point out is the surprise you had when you found out your research made sense to the residents. I am actually surprised that you were struck by this. Maybe I have a different understanding and viewpoint of things like SL because I am of a more technologically dependent generation, but I have always wondering if research had ever been conducted on virtual worlds. I think the work is very interesting and may be able to provide some insight as to how people act in anonymity and the ways strangers interact and develop cultures and relationships.


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