Undertaking qualitative health research in social virtual worlds

Evelyn McElhinney, Francine Cheater, Lisa Kidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses the methodological challenges of using the 3D social virtual world Second Life for research and offers some solutions on a range of research issues including research ethics committee approval, gaining consent, recruitment of sample, data collection and engagement with ‘in – world culture’.
The attraction of social virtual worlds to researchers is their ability to mimic the physical world, as they, are seen as ‘places’ where people have a feeling of presence (being there) and social presence (being there with others) through the use of a ‘customisable’ avatar (digital self-representation).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1275
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number6
Early online date25 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • health research
  • virtual reality
  • second life

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