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Second Life as a Research Environment: Avatar-based Focus Groups (AFG)

Gadalla, Eman and Abosag, Ibrahim and Keeling, Kathy (2016) 'Second Life as a Research Environment: Avatar-based Focus Groups (AFG).' Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 19 (1). pp. 101-114.

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Abstract

Structured abstract Purpose - Over the last decade there has been a rapid increase in using 3D virtual worlds (VWs) as a research tool. Motivated by the ability of VWs to stimulate the realism of physical places, this study examines the nature and the potential use of Avatar-based Focus Groups (AFGs) (i.e., focus groups conducted in 3D VWs) as compared to face-to-face and online focus groups. Design/methodology/approach - Using a two-phase reflective approach, data were collected first by using traditional face-to-face focus groups, followed by AFGs. In phase 2, an online semi-structured survey provided comparison data and experiences in AFGs, 2D online focus groups and traditional face-to-face focus groups. Findings - The findings identify the advantages and disadvantages of Avatar-based Focus Groups (AFGs) for marketing research. There is no evident difference in data quality between the results of AFGs and face-to-face focus groups. AFG compensates for some of the serious limitations associated with OFGs. Practical implications - The paper reflects on three issues, data quality, conduct of AFGs (including the moderator reflection), and participant experience that together inform our understanding of the characteristics, advantages, and limitations of AFG. Originality/value - The first paper to compare between AFGs, traditional face-to-face focus groups and online focus groups (OFGs). AFG holds many advantages over OFGs and even, sometimes, over face-to-face focus groups providing a suitable environment for researchers to collect data.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Finance & Management
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Finance and Management
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1108/QMR-08-2015-0070
Depositing User: Ibrahim Abosag
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2015 15:21
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21177

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