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Interviewing in the metaverse: the renewed importance of location and embodiment

journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-13, 14:43 authored by Michał Rzeszewski, Tessa Osborne, Phil Jones, Leighton Evans, Gerd Weitkamp

In this paper, we explore the methodological implications of conducting online qualitative interviews in the metaverse through virtual reality (VR). Technology companies have invested heavily in creating metaverse platforms for bringing people together in digital worlds, yet there is a significant absence of geographical research examining the implications of these spaces. Twenty-six undergraduate students participated in a remote interviewing exercise using the platform AltSpaceVR. Face-to-face interviews were subsequently conducted to gather their reflections about the experience of research interviews in a metaverse. The study highlights the significance of immersion and presence in virtual environments. Participants noted that, in contrast to video interviewing, the immersive nature of the virtual space resembled conventional face-to-face interviews. A sense of immersion and presence enhances the authenticity of the interview experience. There were, however, challenges in interface management and the role of avatars altering the embodied connection with the research subjects. The avatars provided personal representation but introduce complexities in establishing genuine connections and rapport. In our discussion of the implications for VR qualitative research, we emphasise the interplay of immersion, presence and embodiment which can add real value to remote interviewing experience, while reflecting on the technical and physiological limitations.

Funding

Human-space-software: smart city augmented reality

National Science Center

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History

Author affiliation

College of Science & Engineering/Geography, Geology & Environment

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Applied Geography

Volume

167

Publisher

Elsevier

issn

0143-6228

eissn

1873-7730

Copyright date

2024

Available date

2025-11-11

Language

en

Deposited by

Dr Tess Osborne

Deposit date

2024-05-10

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