Ethnography and Virtual Worlds
A Handbook of Method
Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie Nardi, Celia Pearce & T. L. Taylor
With a foreword by George E. Marcus
Ethnography and Virtual Worlds is the only book of its kind--a concise, comprehensive, and practical guide for students, teachers, designers, and scholars interested in using ethnographic methods to study online virtual worlds, including both game and nongame environments. Written by leading ethnographers of virtual worlds, and focusing on the key method of participant observation, the book provides invaluable advice, tips, guidelines, and principles to aid researchers through every stage of a project, from choosing an online fieldsite to writing and publishing the results.
- Provides practical and detailed techniques for ethnographic research customized to reflect the specific issues of online virtual worlds, both game and nongame
- Draws on research in a range of virtual worlds, including Everquest, Second Life, There.com, and World of Warcraft
- Provides suggestions for dealing with institutional review boards, human subjects protocols, and ethical issues
- Guides the reader through the full trajectory of ethnographic research, from research design to data collection, data analysis, and writing up and publishing research results
- Addresses myths and misunderstandings about ethnographic research, and argues for the scientific value of ethnography
Tom Boellstorff is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. His books include Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. Bonnie Nardi is professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Her books include My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft. Celia Pearce is associate professor of digital media at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her books include Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds. T. L. Taylor is associate professor of comparative media studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her books include Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture.