Structuring Virtuality

A User-Based Example for E-Commerce
  • Michael S. Nilan
  • Anuradha Mundkur
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 236)


The purpose of this paper is to provide an example of an empirical procedure for generating user-based cognitive and social cognitive models of tasks/problems/contexts that can be employed to create readily navigable link structures for virtuality-mediated communication and collaboration purposes. Employing a natural language, user-based method, this study describes patterns found across 128 interviews where respondents were describing their cognitive movement in the form of steps taken during an interactive E-Commerce situation. Employing these patterns, we analytically develop a model of E-Commerce as a series of logically necessary steps over time. The resulting model illustrates the utility of individual cognitive and social cognitive patterns to structure virtuality as a series of interactive links associated with particular tasks/problems/contexts. Logical structures derived in this manner have the additional strength of requiring no “training” of users because they already recognize the inherent linguistic, temporal and functional relationships. As an added benefit, the model of E-Commerce generated in this study has concrete practical implications for web site design and evaluation.


Virtual Community Online Shopping Time Order Shopping Cart Social Cognitive Perspective 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Nilan
    • 1
  • Anuradha Mundkur
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Information StudiesSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Social SciencesSchool of Geography, Population and Environmental ManagementAdelaide

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