Second Life is only one of a number of virtual worlds, and you may find that some of your reading and the research is focussed on a different “world”. You will also find that while some people would label Second Life as a game, others will take great pains to discuss how it is NOT a game! These are all interesting angles to explore, and you should aim to read a few articles to become familiar with the terminology of virtual worlds as well as the kinds of research that people are considering.
You may find this introduction to Second Life interesting – a talk by the founder of Second Life:
Here are a few starting points for further reading; these are not in a particular order, but you could start with a title that looks promising for yourself. It would be good if you could summarise the article/section in the course discussions, so that others will get an idea of what it is about. Remember to give good bibliographic details so that we can find it!
Ward, M (2010) Avatars and Sojourners: Explaining the acculturation of newcomers to multiplayer online games as cross-cultural adaptations Journal of Intercultural Communication vol 23 available from http://www.immi.se/jicc/index.php/jicc/article/view/205/151
You will also find some other articles in the same journal Journal of Intercultural Communication
Lim, S.S. & Schofield Clark, L., 2010. Virtual worlds as a site of convergence for children’s play. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 3(2). available from http://www.jvwresearch.org/page/home