Virtual World Article: Emperical Research into Second Life

Shailey Minocha, Minh Quang Tran, and Ahmad John Reeves. Conducting Empirical Research in Virtual Worlds: Experiences from two projects in Second Life. “Journal of Virtual Worlds Research”. Centre for Research in Computing, The Open University, UK. Volume 3, Number 1. 2010.  

The first reason that comes to mind as I think about why I selected this article is due to the interesting title.  Think about this for a second, “Conducting Empirical Research in Virtual Worlds”.  This title has read me for important information written all over it.  In addition to the great title, I have been taught some about Second Life, but I wanted to study more to look for two more evidences.  The first thing that I wanted to see highly evident in Second Life is the room and potential for education opportunities.  The second piece of Second Life that I wanted to know more about and understand how people work is the business and sales aspect of Second Life.  I find it fascinating that students could meet up in a virtual area and learn about concepts, ideas, and things they are being taught in class.  Furthermore, I was surprised to hear that some people are making Second Life their job, and are able to make money off of what they accomplish in Second Life.  Overall, I needed to research more about Second Life and see if I could use it in my future classes. 

It was interesting to read through some of this article and gain more information about a possible growing idea, virtual worlds.  One of the first things that this article instructed me on was that virtual worlds are also known as synthetic worlds.  Some people would stop right at this sentence and say they do not want to know more, and others would say, “lets read on to see what potentials Second Life hold.”  The authors of this article asked themselves, what can Second Life provide for people.  These authors asked the questions of what types of possibilities Second Life can provide for education, and the process that people go through to sell things and run stores through Second Life.   The process that these authors and researchers went through to discover more about Second Life includes personal interviews, group interviews, tours, panel discussions, and group interviews.  These researches took time to meet new people, observe people’s actions, and converse back and forth with Second Life users.  Interactions and interviews occurred both offline and online to help understand more of the education and consumer behavior aspect of Second Life.  Through much preparation and hard work, the researchers found out more about Second Life and would go as far as saying that education and consumer behavior is different in Second Life due to people being virtually who they want to be. 

I would enjoy using this article in the Business Education setting because I have observed that it covers many of the ideas and concepts people need to follow when doing a research or interview study.  There is much that goes on when you want to research something, especially if you are performing interviews and questionnaires.  Through this article, my students could gain more current ideas and experience how studies are made.  With this information, I would relate the research skills and techniques to other products and services the students enjoy investing in. 

As far as this information for the business, industry, and health care environment, it could be used to help understand more about current and potential customers.  For instance, companies can view this article and read ideas that other people are using to do research on customers.  In addition, I think a business could use this information to see how they could apply their business to Second Life.  There is much potential out there in Second Life for businesses to do work, it just takes research and time.

I find this article and the research put into it  very necessary for our current business and education systems.  There is an area of growth and great potential in Second Life; and through research that companies, organizations, and people like my professor do, we will learn more about how we can use virtual worlds for better of education and business.   





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