[Research] Using experimental setting to study collaboration
One of the weakness of my research lays in the fact that we are using non-realistic situations. Though CatchBob is a game in a virtual environment, the collaborative hunt players are engaged in is not a realistic situation. It is just a firefighter-like task. This issue (the use of field study or experimental setting) has been tackled by B. Cahour in "Cooperative interaction analysis: the use of post-verbalisations ":
Since the objective was to compare the communication with extended shared context and with restricted shared context, we needed to build comparable situations of cooperation, the subjects being in a comparable situation of co- operation except for the media.
A similar situation applied for a study we are developing about the memory of cooperative interactions: to test first the methodology which would be needed to study the representation of past cooperative interactions, and to check the variability of the descriptions given just after an interaction and again a year later, we asked nine pairs of subjects to perform a similar collaborative design task. We were then able to observe if there are a large number of individual differences or if there are similarities in what the subjects remembered of a cooperative interaction.
It is in both cases the scientific issue of looking at the differences between situations or between subjects which led us to build experimental settings for co-operative interaction. The results obtained from these studies need of course to be confirmed in real work situations.