Time to Type: Transcribing Interviews Before Analysis

Posted in: Analysis, EngD, Methods

This week I conducted the final interview for the first big research activity of my project. I have written previously about how I need to decide on how to approach analysing the data and, as the title suggests, I have settled on transcribing the interviews before carrying out some sort of thematic or content analysis. In this short post, I share some thoughts on why I decided to go ahead with this method.

Initially, I was concerned that the transcribing process would take me a long time, because I had read that it can take as long as ten times the length of the original audio recording for inexperienced transcribers. However, I had a go of transcribing a pilot interview, which was 55 minutes long, and it took me approximately 3 hours to get a draft together. That was without a foot pedal! Given the small number of interviews I have, I feel that the added rigour of transcribing the interviews in detail will be more than worth it when it comes to analysing the data and reporting the results.

I do need to make a few adjustments to the way I transcribe, but I do not expect these to significantly increase the amount of time I need for each recording. On my first attempt, I chose to remove repetition of words if they were not required for the meaning of the sentence. Stepping back, however, this sort of information should be included, because it can indicate hesitation or uncertainty, which might be important when comparing responses from different participants. I realise that it is important to be as true to the original data as possible and will improve my technique for the rest of the recordings.

Since I started reading about qualitative research methods, I have noticed some improvements in other activities, too. For example, when reviewing notes from meetings with my supervisors, or summarising my own thoughts, I have seen my approach to note-taking in interviews creeping in. All of these activities use qualitative methods, even if they aren't qualitative research. Practice makes perfect!

Next week I will be joined by a first year EngD student, who will be visiting Designability to get an idea of what it is like day-to-day on placement. I have planned a full day of qualitative research methods practice for us, which will help kick-start the analysis of my data.

So, I will be settling into a weekend of transcribing, ready for us to get down to business. Time to type!

Posted in: Analysis, EngD, Methods

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