Addressing the interplay between virtual and actual experiences: A methodological discussion on hybrid ethnography

Katleen Gabriels

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)

Abstract

This presentation addresses an empirical based understanding of how residents of Second Life (SL) structure in-world moral life. Moral culture is constituted not only by what people do, "but how they explain and justify what they do, the stories they tell, the principles they invoke" (Walzer, 1987, p. 29). In order to gain understanding in how residents make sense of in-world morality and in the consequences of virtual experiences on their actual lives, a long-term hybrid ethnographic study was conducted (2012-2013). In doing so, this study sought to conjoin a strong grounding in moral philosophy with user studies on moral behaviour and ethical reflection in SL.

The primary focus lies on a discussion of hybridization and its methodological implications for ethnography. Reflecting on empirical experiences, the alternating movement between virtual and actual ethnographic participation and how it affects data gathering, conventions, and the relationship between researcher and informants is elaborated on.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReal life in virtual worlds: opportunities and challenges
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Methodological discussion
  • Hybrid ethnography
  • Virtuality
  • Actuality
  • Virtual world

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