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Augmented Reality

Reflections on Its Contribution to Knowledge Formation

Ed. by Ariso, José María

Series:Berlin Studies in Knowledge Research 11

Open Access
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Publication Date:
April 2017
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On the Epistemic Potential of Virtual Realities for the Historical Sciences. A Methodological Framework

Weinzierl, Stefan / Lepa, Steffen


Virtual or augmented audio-visual environments can be employed not only for the impartment of knowledge to a wider audience, but also for the generation of knowledge within the historical sciences. In this context, the transformation of numerical models of historical circumstances into an immediate sensual experience may be used both in an exploratory manner as well as for testing specific hypotheses through subjective perceptual analysis. As with any other empirical approach, the new insights provided can be biased on different levels. In order to make virtual realities (VRs) a valuable tool for research, traditional quality criteria for empirical research need to be adapted to the specific setting created by observational fieldwork ‘within’ 3D audio-visual computer simulations. Two major causes for degradation in the credibility of VR-based historical research are related to the relationship between simulation and historical ‘reality’ as well as to the human agents experiencing the simulated environments and the conclusions drawn from their subjective impressions. Hence, our contribution attempts to outline procedures and methods for estimating and comparing the ecological validity of virtual environments as well as the level of intersubjectivity regarding the inferences drawn during and after experiencing them. For this purpose, we suggest to synthesize existing ideas and procedures originating from virtual reality research, media psychology, communication science and ethnology.

Citation Information

Stefan Weinzierl, Steffen Lepa (2017). On the Epistemic Potential of Virtual Realities for the Historical Sciences. A Methodological Framework. In José María Ariso (Editor), Augmented Reality: Reflections on Its Contribution to Knowledge Formation (pp. 61–80). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110497656-004

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110497656

Online ISBN: 9783110497656

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston. BY 3.0 This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Public License.

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