Research Transcription Essentials Explained
Research transcription can be puzzling to first-time researchers. There are a number of essential elements to research transcription which every researcher should know.
Research transcription describes the process of converting recordings of focus groups and interviews into written transcripts. All researchers who use focus groups and interviews as a method of collecting data for research use research transcription.
One essential element of research transcription is accuracy. Research transcripts are accurate accounts of the focus group or interview, are free from grammatical and typing errors, and conform to specific needs as articulated by the researcher at the beginning of the project.
There are a plethora of formats which researchers and transcription companies use, in producing accurate and high-quality transcripts for researchers. Many transcription companies have a selection of default formatting templates which are popular with researchers.
However for researchers who plan to use qualitative analysis software to analyse their data, (such as NVivo or Leximancer) specific formatting is required. This is because the transcript must be in a format which is easily imported into the software, for data analysis.
As a researcher, it is imperative that you know which qualitative analysis software you will be using before you request the transcription from your chosen transcription provider.
Pacific Transcription offers four Nvivo formatting options and can provide transcripts in Leximancer-compatible and other qualitative analysis software-specific formats.
The most common transcript style requested by 95% of Pacific’s researchers is Intelligent Verbatim (standard style). This is because the Intelligent Verbatim transcription style is highly readable. Although a highly accurate transcript is produced, the typist does slightly amend the spoken word by excluding false starts, repetitions and excessive use of filler words, such as “um, “like”, and “you know”.
There are a number of other transcript styles which, although far less common, are used by researchers. These include Strict Verbatim (orthographic transcription) and Conversational Analysis.
A Strict Verbatim transcript style is used by researchers who intend on applying basic linguistic analysis to their transcripts. Conversational Analysis transcript style is used by researchers who plan to analyse various paralinguistic and nonverbal communication, embedded in the transcripts.
Both transcript styles require an intensive application and often require full sound-checking. For these reasons both Strict Verbatim and Conversational Analysis transcript styles incur significant surcharges, and take longer to produce.
Due to the complexities of these transcript styles, it is advisable that all researchers who require Strict Verbatim or Conversational Analysis thoroughly discuss their requirements with their chosen transcription company, prior to embarking on the research transcription job.
It is a requirement of all researchers conducting research to meet the ethical standards as set out by the funding or research body. For the majority of researchers, the standard terms and conditions and privacy policies of transcription companies adequately meet their ethics requirements.
Sometimes specific research projects require a commitment to more complex, tighter or strict standards. For example, a researcher conducting highly sensitive interviews with a particularly vulnerable cohort may require that every typist who comes into contact with the audio provide a signed, individual and current confidentiality agreement, explicitly stating the name of the piece of research in the agreement.
Although all Pacific typists sign a confidentiality agreement prior to contracting with Pacific, it is quite common for Pacific to ensure individual typists assigned to research projects such as these, sign an individual confidentiality agreement, which is then supplied to the researcher.
Each researcher has competing demands on their time. Research projects are usually time-limited, and these time limits are often imposed by the grant or funding body, or the researcher themselves. It is helpful to researchers in the planning phase to know how long it will take to transcribe their audio.
Many transcription companies can accommodate the researcher’s specific time-limited requirements and offer a variety of turnarounds and pricing options which reflects this. Transcription companies can also discuss the researcher’s specific needs and offer the best option which meets both their financial and timeframe limitations.
There are a number of research transcription essentials which every researcher should discuss with their chosen transcription company. These are transcript accuracy, transcript format, transcript style, ethics standards and transcript turnaround options. By knowing about these transcription essentials researchers will be better informed when speaking with their transcription provider, and ultimately receive the best possible transcripts for their research.
Pacific Transcription provides New Zealand researchers with high-quality, accurate transcripts, in an appropriate format and style, within the turnaround required, and in compliance with ethics standards. For further information about research transcription please contact Pacific Transcription NZ today.
For more information on what your focus group or interview transcript might look like, read our blog article.