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Looking for participants for a doctoral dissertation on the utilization of virtual world among autism communities


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Hello! My name is Matthew Chan and I am a psychology graduate student at Pacific University gathering data for my dissertation research project on the correlation of virtual world use and social satisfaction among individuals with autism spectrum disorder. This study has been approved by the Pacific University human subjects research ethics committee.

If you are:

  • over the age of 18
  • have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (or Asperger's Syndrome)
  • a current or former user of virtual world platforms

I would appreciate no more than 10 minutes of your time to complete this survey. By participating in this study, you will also be able to enter a drawing to win a $25 Amazon gift card. For more information, please refer to the poster attached to this post.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me (Matthew Chan, chan7530@pacific.edu)

To complete the survey, Please click on this link or scan the QR code on the poster:

https://pacificu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2frrIw374AYmZhQ

Thank you so much for your participation!

Dissertation Recruitment Poster.png

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I don't want you to feel discouraged, so I hope some people reach out to you in a message.  We get several similar requests like this every year to varying degrees of success.  There are several forumites that have mentioned being on the autism spectrum, so hopefully some will make contact.

Have you been inworld, yet?

Best of luck!

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Matthew, you likely won't get much uptake here, as the forums are populated by a pretty small percentage of SL residents -- and many of those are not keen on studies, students, or research.

Have you contacted the group Virtual Ability in-world? I'm not sure how active its founder, Gentle Heron, still is, but you might try her. They're your best bet for assistance with this.

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5 hours ago, BriannaLovey said:

Find random people inworld and give offer them a small amount of L$ for their time.

OP try this also, you'll guaranteed have more response with this ^

Like everyone have already mentioned, you'll have more luck in-world than these forums. There's also some recent PTSD from when an established SL 'journalist' waltzed on in here casually asking for free input from forum members and promising a report of all the data, only to then publish it behind a premium Patreon subscription lmao, but I digress.

But this is a noble cause, and I hope you can gather more responses for your study. Good luck!

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5 hours ago, BriannaLovey said:

Find random people inworld and give offer them a small amount of L$ for their time.

The problem with this, I think, would be that the OP needs people who've been diagnosed with autism or Asperger's.

Wandering around offering Lindens to random people for their time is going to result in an awful lot of on-the-spot self-diagnoses of these conditions from people who simply want the honorarium.

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Quote

By participating in this study, you will also be able to enter a drawing to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

No, no. You have to give all study participants a gift. Otherwise, you're running a sweepstakes. The US FTC has rules on that.

Establish a modest presence in Second Life. Wagner Au, author of a well-thought of book about Second Life, did that. So can you. Rent a storefront for a month in a busy location such as London City, and staff it with an interviewer during posted hours, for example.  If you asked for help doing that, you'd probably get it. It shows you're serious. Your thesis will be much stronger.

The "fill out my online form" researchers are generally considered a waste of time. There's one of those every month or two. Usually with a set of questions that indicates the cluelessness of the researcher.

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Far be it for me to point this out again, but this is not a generalized research project on the residents of Second Life.

It is specifically about how people who have been diagnosed with autism or Asperger's use Second Life. Yes, the researcher should have some familiarity, obviously, with the platform, and should have spent some time on it.

But opening a shopfront, offering money for interviews, visiting Fogbound or Luskwood or whatever, is not likely to help the researcher locate the particular kinds of residents who are the focus of this study.  Hanging out at the Helios Casino and occasionally shouting into local chat, "HEY! ANYONE HERE AUTISTIC?" is probably not going to do a lot of good.

For once, the forum actually probably IS not a bad place to start. And perhaps a few well-chosen groups, such as (most obviously) Virtual Ability.

A quick search reveals THREE PAGES of groups that associate themselves in some way with Autism. There are seven groups that feature "Asperger's" in their title or description.

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8 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

A quick search reveals THREE PAGES of groups that associate themselves in some way with Autism. There are seven groups that feature "Asperger's" in their title or description.

That seems it would be the right place to start. It comes with obvious risk of sampling bias but there are methodological pitfalls all over here. It sucks to rely on self-reported diagnoses, but it's not as if the researcher can get documentation from subjects, nor find enough virtual world users among a handy pool of known-diagnosed subjects, so I guess just encourage actual diagnosed subjects to participate and try not to lure in the fakes.

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There was a fellow forumite @archangel969 who posted several times recently on the subject of autism in another thread...

I don't know if they'd be willing to help with something such as this but they seemed quite open to discussing the subject, it may be worth reaching out to them and seeing if they have any recommendations as to groups, etc. where you might find people in SL that fit your criteria (i.e. diagnosed with autism, users of virtual worlds) and are willing to participate.

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