This article details the aspects of a Virtual Meeting Analyzer. This is an upcoming web application that can be used to analyze the dynamics of a social meeting. According to the article, evaluating the social networks that result from meetings could help in improving communication in social meetings.
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However, the article notes that there are many complexities involved in this process (Privitera, Martino & Gamberini, 2012). The Virtual Meeting Analyzer (VMA) is a web application that is modeled to overcome such complexities.
The article begins by noting that prior to VMA social meetings were analyzed using arcs and nodes. The nodes in this case represent the social agents while the arcs represent the nodes’ interrelationships. According to the article, social network analysis is currently used in psychological research activities.
For instance, it can be used to monitor social groups or initiate organizational interventions. VMA simplifies the analysis of small social meetings of less than thirty participants. There is no expertise in social network analysis or computer science that is required when using VMA.
Other software programs that were previously used for this task did not have this element of simplicity. These programs also incorporated manual coding and this left room for errors.
According to the article, VMA has four modules. Each of these four modules corresponds with the activity being performed. The four modules include configuration, recording, meeting creation, and temporal analysis. The meeting creation module allows the user to create a new meeting or load a previous one.
The configuration module accounts for characteristics of the meeting’s environment. The recording module allows the user to record all the communication events in a meeting. This module is instantaneous.
The temporal analysis module provides a temporary description of the social network. When the network develops, the temporal analysis module updates these developments.
The article then outlines the considerations that were made during the development of the VMA web application program. The most important developmental consideration was that VMA could be accessed through any internet-enabled device.
The article continues by claiming that VMA web applications can work with a wide range of browsers (Borgatti, Everett & Freeman, 2001). The next part of the article details the application’s evaluation.
According to the article, the evaluation’s main objective was meant to prove that VMA could be used by users with no technical background. The evaluation was conducted using two different scenarios to guarantee effectiveness. In the first scenario, a VMA user was presented with thirty-five questions.
The questions investigated the device’s navigability, design, visibility, comprehensibility, and error handling. This second scenario investigated the effectiveness of the application’s inner workings.
The article notes that both evaluations revealed positive feedback from the participants. Among the highest rated components of VMA included the application’s meeting creation and participant positioning modules. In the second scenario, participants were able to discover who the leader of the network was using VMA.
The results of the evaluations have since been used to develop updates for the application. The article continues to note that most of these updates will focus on the interoperability between the application and web browsers.
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The article concludes by posting the results of the evaluation conducted through the questionnaire. The replies for most of the thirty-five questions asked were positive.
Impact of VMA on Psychological Research
VMA technology is used as a tool of social network analysis. Social network analysis (SNA) is one of the methods used in psychological research. SNA was first used as a research methodology in 1989 (Fogg & Tseng, 1999).
Before that, a book published in 1934 touted for SNA’s inclusion in the research methodologies regimen. VMA represents the current trend that uses SNA methodology.
The tool employs the latest technological advancements especially the advent of high-speed internet. VMA will have quite a significant impact on how research is conducted in the psychology field.
Most of the existing SNA tools feature backdated technology that does not match the current trends. VMA is the exception to this trend. VMA will feature simplified architecture that will simplify research activities.
Currently, most psychological research is not funded by external sources. This means that most psychologists have to fund their own projects (Martino, Spagnolli & Gamberini, 2009).
Therefore, VMA is going to assist researchers in cutting research costs. The tool also cuts back on the number of personnel required to undertake a research project.
In addition, the tool does not require researchers to engage in further training. All these aspects are cost cutting and this could translate to more research projects in the future. For instance, the above article takes note of the ease of operation that comes with the new VMA.
Another aspect of VMA that will affect research is its efficiency. According to research conducted on the VMA, it was discovered that the tool is over three times more efficient than its viable alternative. This translates into reliable research findings because of the reduced incidences of human error.
The tool also includes several new components that will make researchers’ work easy. For example, VMA allows users to add notes, new participants, and even modify the content of earlier notes (Cross, Borgatti & Parker, 2002).
VMA is a trending research tool in psychological research. Over the next few months, its impact will start being felt. The tool will simplify current research and open avenues for futuristic research.
List of References
Borgatti, P., Everett, G. & Freeman, C. (2001). UCINET V Network Analysis Software Manual. Harvard, MA: Analytic Technologies.
Cross, R., Borgatti, P. & Parker, A. (2002). Making Invisible work visible: using social network analysis to support strategic collaboration. California Management Review, 44(2), 25-46.
Fogg, J. & Tseng, S. (1999). Credibility and computing technology. Communications of the ACM, 42(5), 39-44.
Martino, F., Spagnolli, A. & Gamberini, L. (2009). Presence in the age of social networks: augmenting mediated environments with feedback on group activity. Virtual Reality, 13(3), 183-194.
Privitera, A., Martino, F. & Gamberini, L. (2012). Virtual Meeting Analyzer: A Web application to visualize and analyze social networks emerging in group meetings. PsychNology Journal, 10(1), 39-51.