The embodied constructivist GTM digital ethnography in situ to understand visitor’s intercultural experience inside immersive environments.

Patrizia Schettino, Switzerland

The research presented in this paper is an attempt to define a methodology for the qualitative analysis of immersive experience in situ. It was been argued that this area still new and need a new approach: “it is necessary to develop new and appropriate methodological framework and borrowing, where appropriate, from a range of disciplines” (Economou and Tost, 2008, p.255). Sarah Kenderdine at Museum and the Web 2012 and also previously also underlined that this area of research is crucial in the field of virtual museums, especially with a focus on cultural diversity:“A deeper understanding of how virtual environments (created within predominantly Cartesian based perspective system), both appropriate and distort other culturally derived views of the world, allows us ample opportunity for experimentation, evaluation and future research” (Kenderdine, 2006, pag.323, Kenderdine, 2012).The methodology used in this research is a combination of 4 qualitative different methods and it can be summarized as an “embodied constructivist GTM digital ethnography in situ:

Embodied: the researcher is inside the immersive environment with the visitor, without using note book or video recording, but the body to record the experience and the sequence of notes are immediately written after every session of use by visitors

Constructivist GTM ethnography: the researcher is using participant observation and triangulating the observation with the same visitors; the process of the research is done following the path of the constructivist GTM; the researcher is aware that about the potential bias of his or her interpretation of the experience; the researcher has a focus on taking in account cultural diversity in data collection and data analysis

Digital: the researcher is analyzing immersive digital projects in situ and this field can be considered as a subfield of digital ethnography; the immersive environment are not online  but in situ, part of an exhibition inside the museum.

The papers will show how this methodology can be re-used to analyze other immersive experiences in museums.

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