Study information for the Trent University Class ‘Virtual Worlds’
Professor Paul Manning (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
You are being asked to participate in a class research project on the ethnography of virtual worlds.
The research procedures involve standard anthropological methods of participant-observation. The researcher will therefore first and foremost be a fellow gamer, sharing the same goals, difficulties and tasks as you do yourselves, which will allow them to achieve an empathetic perspective, while they also make observations about the activities of others who are engaged in the same or similar tasks. Unlike ordinary science, anthropologists are expected to live the life they observe. Thus, this method is called ‘participant-observation’. As part of this procedure, the student ethnographer will keep chat logs, notes, and take screen shots. They may ask questions for clarification or information just as a normal ‘newbie’ player would. The chatlogs and other data will be screened for information about offline identity, which will be rendered anonymous, and your avatar’s identity will also be protected by the use of pseudonyms. All data collected will be rendered anonymous using a password protected database, and subsequently destroyed after the term is over.
All students who engage in this project have taken and passed a human subjects review which can be consulted at (URL).
The only foreseeable discomfort associated with the study is the invasion of your privacy. There are no direct benefits from participation in the study. However, this study may help contribute to understandings of this qualitatively new form of sociality. All research from this project will be published on a course blog located at (insert URL) which you are welcome to consult and comment upon subsequently.
Participation in this study is voluntary. You may refuse to participate or discontinue participation at any time. No information that personally identifies you or your online identity will ever be used, your screen name or avatar name will never be used nor will any information about your offline persona ever be solicited.
If you have any further questions or concerns about this project, please contact the professor at the email above.
You indicate consent by telling the researcher in in-game chat ‘I have read the project description and I agree to participate’. In order to consent you must be 18 years of age, which you also indicate by your agreement to participate.