Developing a methodology to research the avatar/user relationship

Janet Ward, Nigel Coates

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Virtual worlds such as Second Life have created a new place to enact the social in which the user creates an avatar to explore, interact and consume. Consumer behavior researchers have largely overlooked avatars and the challenges they present to extant theories. There have been calls for research into the avatar-user relationship (Messinger et al, 2008) and indeed Belk (2013 p 44) suggests that what both our avatars and we do online influences the self and therefore “only studying extended self offline is missing a large part of the influences on our contemporary self concepts and our and others’ activities in creating them”. This leads us to the research question: How can the offline and online self be researched to understand the avatar-user relationship? This paper addresses this contemporary research problem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAMA Winter Marketing Academic Conference, 2016, Las Vegas
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2016


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