How to Analyze Interview Transcripts in Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is a critical part of any successful study. Unlike quantitative data, a qualitative analysis adds color to academic and business reports. Interview transcripts are among the best qualitative analysis resources available—but you need the right methods to use them successfully.
As we’ve observed, interviews are crucial to getting less measurable data from direct sources. They allow researchers to provide relatable stories and perspectives, and even quote important contributors directly. Lots of qualitative data from interviews allows authors to avoid embellishment and maintain the integrity of their content as well.
As a researcher, you need to make the most of recorded interviews. Interview transcripts allow you to use the best qualitative analysis methods. Plus, you can focus only on tasks that add value to your research effort.
How do you analyze qualitative interviews?
There are two main approaches to qualitative analysis: inductive and deductive. What’s more, there are two types of inductive qualitative analysis to choose from. These are called thematic content analysis and narrative analysis, both of which call for an unstructured approach to research.
Inductive Methods of Analyzing Interview Transcripts
Thematic content analysis begins with weeding out biases and establishing your overarching impressions of the data. Rather than approaching your data with a predetermined framework, identify common themes as you search the materials organically. Your goal is to find common patterns across the data set.
A narrative analysis involves making sense of your interview respondents’ individual stories. Use this type of qualitative data analysis to highlight important aspects of their stories that will best resonate with your readers. And, highlight critical points you have found in other areas of your research.
Deductive Approach to Qualitative Analysis
Deductive analysis, on the other hand, requires a structured or predetermined approach. In this case, the researcher will build categories in advance of his or her analysis. Then, they’ll map connections in the data to those specific categories.
Each of these qualitative analysis methods lends its own benefits to the research effort. Inductive analyses will produce more nuanced findings. Meanwhile, deductive analyses allow the researcher to point to key themes essential to his or her research.
How do you transcribe a qualitative interview?
Successful qualitative research hinges on the accuracy of your data. This can be harder to achieve than with quantitative research. It’s easy to lose important facts and meaning as you transition qualitative data from the source to your published content.
Collecting Feedback for Qualitative Research
There are dozens of ways to gather qualitative data. Recording and accurately transcribing interviews is among the best methods to avoid inaccuracies and data loss. Researchers should consider this approach over simply taking notes firsthand.
Organize Your Research Recordings
Start by identifying a recording solution that’s easy to use. Depending on the interview method you may record a video, or an audio-only format. (Whether it’s in-person or over the phone might make this decision for you.)
A recording is a highly successful method for customer interviews and focus groups. It allows respondents the freedom to be open in how they respond.
You should ensure your audio or video files are easy to save, compile, and share. You can adopt easy-to-remember naming conventions as well to ensure they stay organized.
Transcribe All the Interviews and Focus Group Recordings
The next critical step is transcription. Done alone, this is a long and tedious process. There are dozens of pitfalls when performing transcriptions manually as well. Rev provides a variety of transcription services that take the tedium and guesswork out of the research process.
You can order transcriptions from Rev with both audio and video recordings. Once you’ve received your professional transcripts from Rev, you can begin your qualitative analysis.
The 6 Main Steps to Qualitative Analysis of Interviews
Among qualitative analysis methods, thematic content analysis is perhaps the most common and effective method. It can also be one of the most trustworthy, increasing the traceability and verification of an analysis when done correctly. The following are the six main steps of a successful thematic analysis of your transcripts.
1. Read the transcripts
By now, you will have accessed your transcript files as digital files in the cloud. Start by browsing through your transcripts and making note of your first impressions. You will be able to identify common themes. This will help you with your final summation of the data.
Next, read through each transcript carefully. Evidence of themes will become stronger, helping you to hone in on important insights.
2. Annotate the transcripts
Annotation is the process of labeling relevant words, phrases, sentences, or sections with codes. These codes help identify important qualitative data types and patterns. Labels can be about actions, activities, concepts, differences, opinions, processes, or whatever you think is relevant. Annotations will help you organize your data for dissemination.
Be generous with your annotations—don’t hold back. You will have an opportunity to eliminate or consolidate them later.
3. Conceptualize the data
Conceptualizing qualitative data is the process of aligning data with critical themes you will use in your published content. You will have identified many of these themes during your initial review of the transcripts.
To conceptualize, create categories and subcategories by grouping the codes you created during annotation. You may eliminate or combine certain codes rather than using all the codes you created. Keep only the codes you deem relevant to your analysis.
4. Segment the data
Segmentation is the process of positioning and connecting your categories. This allows you to establish the bulk of your data in a cohesive way. Start by labeling your categories, then describing the connections between them.
You can use these descriptions to improve your final published content.
5. Analyze the segments
You’re now ready to take a deep dive into your data segments. Start by determining if there is a hierarchy among your categories. Determine if one is more important than the other, or draw a figure to summarize the results. At this stage, you may also want to align qualitative data with any quantitative data you collected.
6. Write the results
Your analysis of the content is complete—you’re ready to transition your findings into the real body of your content. Use your insights to build and verify theories, answer key questions in your field, and back aims and objectives. Describe your categories and how they are connected using a neutral, objective voice.
Although you will pull heavily from your own research, be sure to publish content in the context of your field. Interpret your results in light of relevant studies, theories, and concepts related to your study.
Transcription is Essential to Qualitative Research Analysis
Qualitative data is often elusive to researchers. Transcripts allow you to capture original, nuanced responses from your respondents. You get their response naturally using their own words—not a summarized version in your notes.
Rev does the transcription for you, saving you time and allowing you to focus on high-quality work instead. Consider Rev as your transcription service provider for qualitative research analysis—contact us today to learn more.