Media of communication have evolved substantially over time, with certain technological changes portending significant shifts in the nature, production and impact of mediated storytelling (Carey, 1989). Moving from writing on stone tablets to papyrus, the advent of the printing press with movable type, the invention of photography and motion pictures, the discovery of wireless communication, and the invention of television are among the most notable milestones in the historical development of modern communication media (McLuhan, 1964). The invention and rise of the Internet and digital, or computerized media, have ushered in a sea-change in mediated communication. Moreover, the advent of ubiquitous, networked, multi-functional mobile and wearable digital media have enabled the development of what this paper calls experiential media. These emerging media forms have the potential to shape society, perhaps even “democratize culture and art,” as Flew and Faustino stated with regard to earlier media transformations (2018: 9). This thesis examines how experiential media forms such as augmented and virtual reality can enable content creators to design stories for users as participants in immersive, multi-sensory and interactive first-person narratives (Pavlik, 2017a). This is in contrast to traditional media environments in which audience members tend to more often passively watch, listen or read the narrative from a third-person’s perspective.
On behalf of understanding meanings that how audience’s feeling and describe their experiences regarding VR strory in virtual environment, I decide to take up a stance of constructionism as a researcher. Constructionism is usually linked with interpretivism. Researchers taking this theoretical perspective emphasise that meaning is constructed on the basis of cultural and historical interpretation (Crotty, 2005; Sarantakos, 2005). People perceive reality by experiencing the world and interpreting their experience. This experience is subject to individual factors as well as cultural and historical contexts. Crotty (2005) reminds us that culture teaches us how to see the world. In conducting this study, I am aware that the manner in which data is interpreted and presented can be subject to my personal beliefs, which have been formed by my theoretical knowledge and personal experiences of manga. Moreover, the data that I collected can only present views from a particular group of viewers who have their own personal and cultural backgrounds. However, this research project set out to explore the subjective elements regarding meanings that individual readers construct from their own reading of manga. Walliman (2006) points out that an interpretivist observes a phenomenon from inside the system in which the phenomenon exists. The interpretivist is bound to the human situation that is being studied. I aim to explore the amplify effects of VR in term of stories by putting myself in a group of audiences and listening to their voices. Through investigating their viewpoints of virtual experience, I am going to present a report in which meaning is constructed both by the paticipants and myself. In the next section, I will expound how I conducted this investigation.
Data collection procedures consistent with the social constructionism model of qualitative research were used. According to Crotty (1998), social constructionism can be defined as an attempt to understand and explain human and social reality. Participants’ experiences and perceptions along with examples from the published research were used as a way of data gathering. All interviews were audio and video recorded and focus group discussions were recorded orally and digitally saved on a password-protected device for transcription and accuracy. In addition, a volunteer research assistant was responsible for taking notes as a second method in case any unexpected issues occurred during recording and to note general descriptions of the focus group such as atmosphere, general feelings, etc. I also reported notes after each focus group meeting. Participants were encouraged to send me an email with their lesson plans as a PDF file or any other form of artifact such as videos, photos, or websites they felt like sharing. According to Merriam (1998), artifacts can include documents, public records, personal documents, and physical materials.
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