Research Interests

My research interests are in the field of computer mediated communication (CMC) and human computer interaction (HCI). Specifically they have centered upon the study and analysis of virtual interactions and participation, virtual representations and identity, and the design of digital technologies. I am currently working as a Assistant Professor at Qassim University (see Teaching section). You can contact me at: dr (dot) a (dot) reeves (at) gmail (dot) com

Digital Communities

Previously, I had been working as an RA on the AHRC funded 'Digital Technologies Connecting Communities' project at Coventry University. The aims of the project were to understand how community groups select and use digital technologies to support their aims, what barriers they face in selecting and using digital technologies, and how they disseminate their results in digital form to other interested communities and decision-making bodies. Finally we investigated what their requirements are for future systems.

Before this, I was a consultant to the Faculty of Maths, Computing and Technology at the Open University where I had also worked on two projects dealing with virtual interactions and design (see below).

NEW! One of our papers from the DELVE project (see below) "Design of learning spaces in 3D virtual worlds: an empirical investigation of Second Life" has featured amongst the top 25 papers of Editors' Choice in the Educational Media and Technology theme of the Taylor and Francis journals (here). The paper is available free until the end of the year and can be accessed here.

1. Evaluating a VLE for distance researchers

The most recent involved developing and evaluating a virtual learning environment for research students at a distance. Working with Dr Lucia Rapanotti, this involved creating an evaluation framework and set of artifacts for a complete Virtual MPhil research life-cycle. The MPhil VLE included a range of 2D and 3D technologies with the addition of a Second Life island called 'deep|think'. You can see some 3D spaces on deep|think below, or watch the introductory video linked above.

2. The design of 3D learning spaces

Previous to this, I was senior researcher on the DELVE project (Design of Learning Spaces in 3D Virtual Environments) working with Dr Shailey Minocha. This JISC funded project evaluated a range of 3D virtual learning spaces, both immersive and non-immersive, realistic and non-realistic, in order to propose models for a variety of pedagogical requirements. A draft final report is available here, and a picture collection of 3D spaces in our categories of realism, usability and formality can be seen here.

Well designed 3-D arrival point in Second Life. (Taken from Delve Flick stream (here).

Post-doctoral work

Identity and CMC (Computer Mediated Communication)

Following my doctorate, I took a position as a Research Officer at the University of Bath, with Dr Leon Watts, entitled ‘An Identity Based Design Framework for CMC Systems'. This 30-month EPSRC project, considered how people manage and maintain their identities with regard to the technologies they use. The research techniques for the project involved conducting semi-structured interviews, diary studies and videoed focus groups. For our interview data, after transcription, they were analyzed using a technique called ‘Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis’ (IPA) to elicit people’s experiences of identity issues when using various technologies. The IPA technique involves coding and analyzing the transcriptions to produce ‘themes’ that can form the basis of design ideas. Our diary study was based on the idea of ‘dilemmas’, that is a pause or reflection where a person decides which technology to use to convey a message. This post also involved maintaining the project website, writing research reports, presenting findings at conferences and all technical activities including the building a web-based demonstrator system in Java that was used for an experiment on identity and reflection in small groups. The experiment produced a database of messages sent by group members that were later analyzed with both ‘LIWC’ and ‘Yoshikoder’ (Mac platform) text analysis tools. (See our identity framework diagram below).


Virtual vs. face-to-face participation
My PhD at Queen Mary (University of London with Professor Pat Healey) described an empirical study of participation in a text-based virtual environment, including a comparison of the communicative organisation of the virtual interactions with those typical of informal face-to-face conversations. This process involved both the quantitative analysis of over ¼ million virtual messages (using XSLT) and the qualitative analysis of a sample of 2500 conversational turns from both the virtual environment and face-to-face conversations taken from the British National corpus (BNC). This also involved an understanding of the ethics of using online communications for research purposes. You can read the thesis from the link above.


I am currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Dept Computing at Qassim University in Saudi Arabia.

Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

Previous to this position, I was an Assistant Lecturer in the Computing Dept at Coventry University, an Assistant Professor at King Saud University in the Dept of Information Systems teaching Human Computer Interaction at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I also had responsibilities for undergraduate project supervision, student committee work and course development responsibilities.

Both the BSc and MSc students enjoyed learning HCI principles and incorporating them into their end of year projects and dissertations.

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