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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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23

Clicks and Bricks

Methods and Strategies for Measuring the Effects of Similar Virtual and Physical Activity

Lillian C. Spina-Caza

ABSTRACT

The study of virtual play activity as it unfolds on the Internet, in video games, and with mobile technology use, is still in its nascent stages and is in and of itself experimental by nature. Thus, it is important that researchers begin to think about, question, and test new research methods – or extend traditional methods – for the purposes of understanding the effects new media are likely to have on human development. This chapter discusses two early observation studies of Internet and video game play that inspired a third, multimethod field experiment aimed at contributing a theoretical model for exploring the effects of moving activity from physical to virtual environments. All three provide strategies and methods for how the study of new media technology might benefit from a more elaborate research design.

Research on young people and interactive virtual technology (IVT)1 use is abundant and diverse, emerging from numerous fields of interest. These fields include cognitive science, human–computer interaction (HCI) and its subfield of child–computer interaction (CCI), video game studies, developmental and ecological psychology, and literacy, communication, and media studies – to name just a few. Conversations range from those suggesting that new technology environments can enhance creativity, promote media literacy and information ...

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