[Air-L] Seeking submissions for ICA 2010 panel on virtual worlds

CarrieLynn D. Reinhard carrie at ruc.dk
Thu Oct 22 08:54:14 PDT 2009

We are looking for two
researchers interested in participating in a panel we are proposing for the
upcoming International Communication Association conference to be held in
Singapore June 22-26, 2010.

The conference has stressed
the need to examine the political, cultural and technological challenges facing
communication in the modern age, and has even highlighted the growing presence
of virtual worlds as locations and means for communication. Research into
virtual worlds has received increasing attention in the conference, the
organization, and universities around the world. At Metaverse U in 2009, there
was much buzz about interoperability, increased and diversified worlds,
simplified tools for user-generated worlds, and the 3D internet. Decades worth
of research on virtual worlds, digital games, virtual reality and avatars has
generated hundreds of articles with a variety of methods and methodologies on

At this past Transforming
Audiences 2 conference in London, there was much discussion on new media reception
studies sometimes “reinventing the wheel”, not being reflectively cognizant of
theories and studies that have gone on before in reception studies, or even in
other fields of inquiry. Is the field of research into virtual worlds on a
similar trajectory? We know a lot about virtual worlds, but how aware of we
about what we and others are doing to know virtual worlds? How much are we
learning from others? Given the complexity of virtual worlds, is there is
single methodological approach to study them, or should a multiple, mixed
approach be undertaken? And if so, how?

In connection with an
upcoming special issue for the journal Convergence on methods and methodologies
in virtual worlds research, we are proposing to do a panel at ICA 2010 that
addresses these issues. Additionally, we want a panel comprised of a variety of
methodological viewpoints that do not present in isolation; in other words, we
do not want researchers to just present on what they have done.

Instead, we are proposing a
panel that is a structured discussion of people with different methodological
approaches to discuss, in a series of rounds, what they do when they study
virtual worlds. First, each panelist will talk about what they did in their
study(s) – what method/methodology they chose and why, and what they learned
from what they did, with more focus on method/methodology than knowledge about
the phenomenon. Second, each panelist would reflect on what the other panelists
have said, indicating what they learned from each other, where they saw
overlaps and/or divergences. Third, we would open it up to the audience to
comment on what they learned, to offer suggestions the panelists have not
offered, and/or to ask questions about method/methodology (saying that
questions about results can be handled outside of the panel).

We believe suggesting such a
panel would be seen favorably by ICA given a) the topic of challenges to
understanding how to understand virtual worlds and b) the unique nature of the
panel that is more than just a series of presentations.
We are asking if you would
like to participate because we find valuable both your approach(es) to studying
virtual worlds, and your demonstrated ability and desire to reflect upon these

If you would like to
participate, please send a title and brief abstract (no more than 150 words) on
what method(s) and/or methodology(s) for what study(s) you would be addressing
in the discussion.  That is, how you
place yourself in the field of research on virtual worlds in terms of what your
approach is, and one or two studies that illustrate this approach you would
like to discuss.

Please have this sent to me
by NOVEMBER 3rd as we need to gather
the panel proposal together to send out November 6th.  We apologize for the shortness of this time period;
we had not anticipated how many people were not planning on attending this
conference.  You will be notified by
November 5th if we are using your submission.  PLEASE NOTE we are looking for people who are
able to be in Singapore for the conference.  

If you have any questions,
then please send them along.
 CarrieLynn D. Reinhard, PhD
Virtual Worlds Research
Roskilde University
Department of Communication, Business, and Information Technologies
Building 43.3 
Kommunikationsvej 1 
DK-4000 Roskilde
mbl: + 2280 5128

"If we understand that everyone is connected to everyone else in some way or another, it makes it hard to hurt any single one person, for who knows if we might unwittingly hurt someone we love." - CDR 9/20/02

More information about the Air-L mailing list