|Also available as an Acrobat File|
Multi-User Virtual Reality Technology as a Laboratory for Learning
about Social Research: Issues and Prospects
12. Conclusion and Outlook
This project has demonstrated the feasibility of using multi-user VR in teaching social science research methods. It has also suggested a number of unanticipated further uses of this technology in teaching and research, and identified ethical and research issues that need to be addressed. Much refinement of these teaching methods and of the tools for studying the populations of virtual worlds will be needed. But, as the trend towards the increasing use of networked computer graphics and immersive VR continues, so, too, does the potential for teaching and research related to this technology: remote interviewing, focus groups, participant observation and data capture on virtual populations - in short, computer-mediated research of all kinds. The prospect for developing fully global systems of data collection and for the study of subjects in the setting of virtual worlds opens up a host of possibilities which could fundamentally change the nature of social science teaching and research. This project has only begun to explore these possibilities in what may become a vast and exciting laboratory for social research.
We would like to thank Jonathan Howell of the Department of Computer Science Department at University College London for his sterling work on this project, and Anne Mumford for her help and patience in advising the project.
Graphics Multimedia Virtual Environments Visualisation Contents