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Methodical Consideration for Interview Transcription in Qualitative Research

April 21st, 2016 by admin in Interview Transcription No Comments »

Interview transcription is an integral component of several qualitative research studies. While, the role of transcription is not seen beyond “a behind-the-scene task”, it is without a doubt a powerful act of representation.  Although transcription can be carried out in varied forms, there is further need for methodical consideration which is often guided by the core value and goal of the research itself.

Typically, transcription is performed under the purview of naturalized transcription where no detail or utterance is left out and denaturalized transcription that only focuses on rectifying grammar, removing noise and indistinct characters.  But as a newbie researcher, what are the standards of transcription one must ascribe to? To explore the answer to this question is the exact premise of this write-up.

Attentive listening

In order to facilitate the organization of verbal data, attentive listening is highly important.  The researcher may adopt the approach of naturalized transcription and pay close attention to every detail of the verbal texts. A repeated listening of the audio files, also gives the researcher insight and critique into their own work. In qualitative research, the way the researcher interacts with their participants, without mixing his or her own opinion and beliefs are important. By listening to the tapes, the researcher defines new standards for himself/herself which eventually becomes the core of the research.

Giving shape to the Data

Listening to the data setting a standard of conduction interview is just one aspect of transcription. How the researcher shapes and presents the data is the next big consideration.   This is when the approach of denaturalized transcription becomes relevant. While conducting an interview, both the participant and researcher may make grammatical errors, use slang, abbreviated language etc.   The researcher may also use code notes or number. Decoding these data and presenting them in a coherent manner for academic use is the next big step. The key is to present the data in such a manner which is well structured and readable.

Communicating with the Data

Establishing a communication with the talking data involves interpreting the data in a sound and methodological fashion. The details of your talking data or recorded files can help you draw your hypothesis and the future course of your qualitative research. Here the principles of naturalized and denaturalized transcription come in handy.  It depends on the researcher, how he or she will communicate with the talking data. For example, denaturalized transcription helps in data structuring, but by adhering to the principles of naturalized transcription the data is more realistic, authentic and highly representative.  So, it depends upon the discretion of the research which principles of transcription would he or she wishes to give importance to during the course of the research.

Establishing Data Authenticity

When conducting an empirical qualitative research, establishing data credibility is very important. This essentially involves taking a feedback from the participants of the research. This is referred to “validation interview” as a way of initiating “a dialogue between [research participants] and [researcher] intended to confirm, substantiate, verify or correct researcher [‟s] findings”.

Doing an interview transcription is a very mundane and repetitive task. Because of this many researchers engage professional Transcription providers such as Eyered. Hiring a professional transcriptionist is cost effective, but most importantly helps you save on time, thus allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your academic research.  Most transcription providers have highly trained and skilled transcriptionists, therefore accuracy of the work in not much of a concern. However, before outsourcing the task of interview transcription to an agency, if it best to let them know your requirement to reduce the complexity of the task.

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