digital city and virtual worlds

24.2.11

The effect of interviewer image in a virtual-world survey

Murphy, J., Dean, E., Cook, S., Keating , M., Murphy, J., Dean, E., & et al. (December 2010).
 
Online virtual worlds make it possible for researchers to study how survey respondents are influenced by the characteristics of their interviewer. This research report is based on a study of 60 individuals in Second Life, an online-virtual world community. Study results suggest that people interviewed by a heavy virtual interviewer may be less likely to say their own avatar is attractive, report less frequent real-life exercise, and report a higher real-life body mass index.



Full Document: RTI Press - Research Report (PDF)
DOI: 10.3768/rtipress.2010.rr.0014.1012http://dx.doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2010.rr.0014.1012
Full Citation: Murphy, J., Dean, E., Cook, S., Keating , M., Murphy, J., Dean, E., & et al. (December 2010). The effect of interviewer image in a virtual-world survey. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. RTI Press Publication No. RR-0014-1012.

Abstract
When survey respondents are consciously or unconsciously influenced by the characteristics of the interviewer, bias in the survey estimates may result. The effects of interviewer characteristics such as gender and race on survey estimates have been considered previously, but isolating and experimentally manipulating a single interviewer characteristic has been infeasible. With the advent of online virtual worlds, it is now possible to conduct experiments focusing on individual physical interviewer characteristics. We conducted an exploratory study, surveying 60 individuals in Second Life, an online virtual-world community in which the respondent and interviewer were both represented as avatars—three-dimensional representations of real-life individuals. To explore the effect of interviewer appearance on reported health behaviors and attitudes, we randomly assigned half of the survey respondents to a “thin” interviewer and half to a “heavy” interviewer. The data suggest that those who reported to the heavy interviewer were less likely to say their own avatar was attractive, reported less frequent real-life exercise, and reported a higher real-life body mass index, although because of the small number of participants, we did not detect statistically significant differences. The findings suggest that interviewer appearance may have a biasing effect on reports in virtual-world surveys—and perhaps in real-world surveys. Despite the lack of statistically significant findings, the study illustrates the future potential, benefits, and challenges to surveying and conducting methodological research in a virtual world.

Source & credits : RTI International 

15.2.11

TEDxBKK - Chris Smith - 3D Virtual Worlds

Shamblesguru has been in Second Life for over two years, in that time he's built a three SIM Estate named "International Schools Island", facilitated many teacher professional development events, been an organiser of a virtual college fair and is indexing (for educators) Second Life in Second Life itself. He has been fortunate to be part of a community of educators that are reliving the pioneer spirit in the 'new world'. Virtual Worlds will be a valuable part of future teaching and learning environments ... it used to be a 'gut' feeling ... but now it is a quantifiable one.





In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDx[name], where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDx[name] event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

Source : Youtube