eLab City: A Platform for Academic Research on Virtual Worlds

Thomas P. Novak

Abstract


The eLab City project in Second Life is a laboratory environment for the study of user behavior in virtual worlds.  This paper describes the origin and development of the eLab City project, which includes virtual infrastructure constructed in Second Life, a panel of Second Life users who have agreed to participate in research studies, tools for observational data collection, and procedures for fielding research projects.   The eLab City panel is described in detail, with discussion of the panel signup process, recruitment, and panelist demographics.  A series of research studies have been fielded with eLab City panelists, and cooperation rates for these studies are presented, together with comparison to Web-based studies.  We conclude with a discussion of lessons learned and next steps for this research project.


Keywords


laboratory; virtual worlds

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The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org