Researchers have recently suggested that although new technologies (e.g., 3D virtual environments) can enhance social presence in virtual teams, social presence is nontechnological in nature. Others have specified that social presence emerges in social interaction through copresence, psychological involvement, and behavioral engagement. However, current research methods do not fully capture the emergent nature of social presence in 3D virtual environments. We address this shortcoming by developing a novel research strategy for theorizing social presence emergence in 3D virtual environments. The novel research strategy is based on the assumption that understanding socially constructed phenomena (such as social presence) requires investigating human microbehaviors, that is, nonverbal interactions. To capture and theorize human microbehaviors in 3D virtual environments, the research strategy suggests video recording and analyzing interaction in the 3D virtual environment and in the physical environment. The research strategy expands the methodological scope of current social presence research and thus provides novel opportunities for creating a better understanding of how social presence emerges in virtual teams that operate in 3D virtual environments.

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