Thursday Research Bulletin 14.8.2015: From Halo 5 disappointment through place to Husserlian embodiment

“Congratulations! You’ve defeated Diablo III.”

“Congratulation! More powerful Xbox One will remove split-screen from the new Halo! (as is naturally logical)” Have your say on Change.org!

About this week

This week ran past like a wild boar. It began (last weekend) with a huge disappointment with no split-screen in Halo 5, and ended up seeing a couple of my research papers being accepted to conferences. There’s also interesting discussions on ResearchGate for example about the relationship between phenomenology and embodied cognition.

All the interviews of my current phenomenological study about virtual environments are now transcribed. Now it is flipping them into NVivo and starting the elaborate coding process. Luckily, I already practiced this quite a bit with the recent literature review of virtual embodiment.

From the web

Sometimes I feel that old UX designers, HCI professionals, gamers and whatnots who have seen quite a lot in the field of various digital technologies have perhaps a bit more healthy relationship with VR that penetrates the current hype (or perhaps that is only my dream). Here’s some interesting pondering about the role of VR:

Interesting reading this week

Cilesiz, Sebnem. 2008. “Educational Computer Use in Leisure Contexts: A Phenomenological Study of Adolescents’ Experiences at Internet Cafes.” American Educational Research Journal 46 (1): 232–74. doi:10.3102/0002831208323938.

Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology, fall 2015.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280839737_Environmental__Architectural_Phenomenology_fall_2015

Mensch, James R. 2001. Postfoundational Phenomenology: Husserlian Reflections on Presence and Embodiment. University Park: Penn State University Press.

Thursday Research Bulletin 6.9.2015

Browser bunnies – and the only question that remains is, ‘why’?”

About this week

This week’s been about finishing some conference paper submissions and getting close to the end of transcribing interviews from my recent data collection.

If time for it, I recommend transcribing interviews yourself. This is the second study where I’m doing it myself, and it really immerses you into the accounts – if you keep an open mind and focus, which is naturally a difficult endeavour. Writing stuff up on a journal helps to not to get discouraged when you are not finding what your consciousness hoped you would, but also when you do “meet” your preconceptions in the data. For this, I applaud the existence of phenomenological epoche/bracketing. Its constant presence in the same room with you keeps you from jumping in to quick conclusions.

Research

My paper with a title, “You Are Your Avatar Is You: Phenomenological Literature Review of Virtual Embodiment in Virtual Environments” was accepted to the annual Curtin Business School Higher Degree by Research Colloquium. Find the current version of the working paper at ResearchGate. In the near future, I hope to expand it a bit to a journal article. I am mildly satisfied with it, but I feel there’s yet more to grasp in this construct.

Find also a recently published journal article, “Big Data Visualisation in Immersive Virtual Reality Environments: Embodied Phenomenological Perspectives to Interaction“, also on ResearchGate. This is an initial work in this area, and I feel the idea of different modes of interaction in VR visualisation environments should be studied further. Otherwise, why bother with interactive 3D VR for big data visualisation if the process of looking at/interacting with data is similar to 2D media? The in-depth question to be asked: instead of just superficially cool, what are the useful affordances, or are there any?

From the web

This reminds me from my undergrad time as a beginning interaction designer. When all else fails, return to Nielsen:

There’s so many new head mounted display tech and news coming out lately that it’s good to have someone to aggregate that a bit. Here’s one for that:

I’m starting to get ideas for further studies and connecting the following ideas with some Minecraft:

As it says: first I was excited, but then I saw it was directed to US citizens. Oh, too bad. I hope cool stuff will come out of this, as at least the marketing presentations are done well for the Hololens:

Interesting (academic) reading this week

Bernhaupt, Regina, ed. 2015. Game User Experience Evaluation. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Gallagher, Shaun. 2015. “How Embodied Cognition Is Being Disembodied.” The Philosophers’ Magazine, no. 68: 96–102. doi:10.5840/tpm20156819

Goodman, Elizabeth, Mike Kuniavsky, and Andrea Moed. 2012. Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research, 2nd ed. Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Mestre, Daniel R. 2015. “On the Usefulness of the Concept of Presence in Virtual Reality Applications” 9392: 93920J. doi:10.1117/12.2075798

Doing literature review section on virtual embodiment with NVivo

Recently I’ve been developing a section of my PhD literature review that examines the concept of embodiment in virtual environments. Not too much about the topic here, but about the process itself.

I usually keep my journal articles and other stuff in Mendeley. It’s similar to EndNote (a bit better even IMHO), basically a simple software that lets you keep a tagged library of source materials that you can annotate and highlight. Also a nice feature is getting the right kind reference out of the software (if you are lucky) instead of having to write it yourself.

Still, with some processes such as trying to understand a concept by reading many source materials, I find Mendeley becomes too slow and a bit rigid. Yes you can highlight things and annotate directly to articles, but they don’t actually go anywhere as a list, nor can you compare the highlighted parts to other documents in the same folder, category or theme.

Then I remembered someone mentioned me using NVivo for “quick literature reviews” so I thought I’ll take 40 or so articles, drop them there and see what happens. At this stage, I really have give big thanks to Pat Bazeley who originally got me started with the software in the first place, way before my PhD journey! 🙂

NVivo seems to work quite nicely actually. I can see several benefits for doing the lit review like this, such as coding various articles and then writing them out in your own article, e.g. themed in an orderly fashion (instead of just one article a time or something). You can also link NVivo memos (which on the other hand could use some development) between different documents or highlights (codes) to ponder things further. Then basically combine that to a literature review draft.

So, at least this seems swell for now, and the Mac version seems to be quite fast too. I have used NVivo in one previous qualitative study with a PC and for some reason it seemed to crash quite often. The Mac version seems to be quite stable (knock on wood). One thing I’d like to test out in some point in the future is how it works with other non-written sources such as videos. I’m thinking of a study about comparing fictive and academic accounts about certain phenomena, and NVivo could be handy in that.

I also found an article by Randolph (2009), that kinda says lit reviews are generally crap but no one wants to admit it. Often they do not have a justified structure, nor are the chosen articles and rising themes examined critically enough. I feel when you really code the articles and keep a continuous memoing, it adds more of that always-requested rigour to the process. And I guess it will make it easier to write the whole thing anyway – instead of just glancing the articles and perhaps highlighting some parts.

More to read:

Randolph, J. J. (2009). A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review. Retreived from http://pareonline.net/pdf/v14n13.pdf

Pat Bazeley’s website has nice resources for coding with NVivo: http://www.researchsupport.com.au