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Immersed in cyberspace: an evaluation of a grounded theory approach to a study of user preferences.

MacLennan, Alan

Authors



Abstract

This paper describes a piece of research intended to establish user preferences for the design of virtual worlds for information retrieval, and reflects critically on the methodology adopted. Over 100 students and staff at Robert Gordon University were interviewed, in three cycles of literature review, interview, development and testing. A grounded theory approach was taken, in order to reach conclusions based on user experiences, rather than on the literature. Findings were that preferences appear to be based on affective, rather than structural, criteria, the most influential being familiarity, quality, representation, mediation, etc. The effectiveness of the grounded theory approach in this piece of research is evaluated, with particular regard to the typical criticisms to which such an approach is subject. It is concluded that there is value in the approach, but the limitations of the approach are acknowledged, and strategies to reduce the effect of these are discussed.

Citation

MACLENNAN, A. 2012. Immersed in cyberspace: an evaluation of a grounded theory approach to a study of user preferences. Library and information research [online], 36(112), pages 55-71. Available from: https://doi.org/10.29173/lirg493

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2012
Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2012
Publication Date Jun 30, 2012
Deposit Date May 16, 2013
Publicly Available Date May 16, 2013
Journal Library and information research
Electronic ISSN 1756-1086
Publisher CILIP, Library and Information Research Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 112
Pages 55-71
Keywords Virtual worlds; Information access; VRML
Public URL http://hdl.handle.net/10059/814
Publisher URL http://www.lirgjournal.org.uk/lir/ojs/index.php/lir/article/view/493

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