Business research in virtual worlds : possibilities and practicalities

MacKenzie, Kim, Buckby, Sherrena, & Irvine, Helen J. (2013) Business research in virtual worlds : possibilities and practicalities. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 26(3), pp. 352-373.

View at publisher


Purpose – It is predicted that virtual business and related research possibilities will expand significantly. In this context, the aim of this paper is to use insights from a virtual research project to present a theoretically-informed toolbox of practical suggestions to guide the conduct of virtual world business research.

Design/methodology/approach – Archival evidence is presented, and data from a study conducted in Second Lifew in 2007 is interpreted through Llewellyn’s framework (physical, structural, agential, cultural and mental dimensions).

Findings – With the burgeoning of virtual business applications, appropriate systems that encompass the dynamics of both the real and the virtual will need to be developed by and for accountants, auditors and business professionals. Researchers of virtual business activities will need to adapt to the physical, structural, agential, cultural and mental dimensions unique to virtual worlds.

Research limitations/implications – While based on reflections from a single study in Second Life, this paper identifies possibilities for future virtual research on issues of accountability and accounting relating to virtual worlds.

Practical implications – The practical toolbox will assist virtual researchers to deal with the possibilities and practicalities of conducting research in virtual worlds.

Originality/value – Despite the proliferation of virtual worlds, predictions of virtual business applications, and consequent accountability and accounting implications, there is a paucity of academic literature on conducting business research in virtual settings. This prescient paper develops a conceptual framework to guide the conduct of research in virtual worlds, and identifies the unique opportunities and challenges they present.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
5 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

379 since deposited on 20 Mar 2013
32 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 58431
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Avatar, Virtual research, Virtual words, Virtual business, Second Life, Accountability, Research
DOI: 10.1108/09513571311311856
ISSN: 0951-3574
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Emerald Group Publishing
Deposited On: 20 Mar 2013 01:02
Last Modified: 09 May 2014 18:35

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page