... Interpretive anthropology, grounded in field work – here in this actual / virtual Harbin ethnography, re-conceived as pool play – and the making of a virtual Harbin in a virtual world, makes possible not only generative knowledge – interactive, multimedia representations in digital technologies – but also new approaches to comparative participant observation.
Participant observation, both on-the-ground as well as in-virtual-worlds, makes possible differential approaches to conducting field work / pool play, gathering data and taking notes. The similarities and contrasts in methods allow for the focusing of data-collection, as well as ethnographic world/pool-building, in novel ways. In this instance, the actual Harbin ethnography aspect involves a history and a temporality - a time span - of around 17 years experience with Harbin, with around 15 formal interviews, and hundreds of pages of notes. Virtual Harbin, as field site, involves looking ahead, and planning methods, for some probable, unforeseen, research contingencies, such as avoiding theft, but also anticipating learning curves in the making of a virtual Harbin, in scripting for virtual water and virtual Watsu movements, for example, and then concurrent field work and virtual pool play, throughout this process. Such a process may also involve anticipating group, wiki-like, virtual Harbin building. …
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/12/pismis-participant-observation-actual.html - December 17, 2010)