Conducting Text-Based Interviews in Virtual Worlds

TitleConducting Text-Based Interviews in Virtual Worlds
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2011
AuthorsGirvan, C., and Savage T.
EditorA., Peachey
Conference NameResearching Learning in Immersive Virtual Environments (ReLIVE)
Pagination78-86
Date Published09/2011
Conference LocationOpen University, Milton Keynes, UK
AbstractInterviews are a staple data collection tool in social science research and in recent decades have been increasingly formalised and systematised. However, due to the specific affordances and constraints of virtual worlds, researchers cannot simply replicate traditional interview techniques in virtual worlds without careful consideration of the specific features of the technology. While in-world interviews provide both opportunities and obstacles to researchers, there has been little reported on these in the literature. To begin to address this, this paper explores the opportunities, constraints, techniques and implications of conducting text-based interviews in-world. Following a structured reflection on their own experience as interviewer and interviewee, the authors analysed interviews conducted as part of several qualitative studies exploring the educational use of virtual worlds. In total 20 individual and 10 group interviews were analysed to explore the effect of the interview medium. The discussion highlights the key findings which should be considered by researchers wishing to conduct text-based interviews in virtual worlds and aims to stimulate discussion on conducting interviews in virtual worlds.