This study aims at investigating users’ purposes for social virtual worlds which are thriving and emerging social cyberspaces; and introducing an alternative method (i.e., a means-end approach) to analyze users’ purposes. The data from a web-based questionnaire were analyzed by a means-end approach (Olson and Reynolds, 1983) which produces users’ purpose structure consisting of individual purposes and their hierarchical relations. The results showed that people come to social virtual worlds for satisfying their social and hedonic needs and for escaping from real world constraints as do virtual community members and gaming virtual world players; they also pursue unique activities, such as creating virtual objects and selling them. On the other hand, by clarifying relations among purposes, the mean-ends approach provided a richer explanation about users’ purposes than prior research which just offers separate purposes of social cyberspace users.
Jung, Yoonhyuk and Kang, Hyunmee, "An Exploratory Study of Users' Purposes for Social Virtual Worlds" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. 269.