Why You Should Transcribe Interviews For Qualitative Research
Many different industries and academic fields use qualitative research every day. This type of research focuses on individuals, societies, cultures, and language.
An automotive manufacturer may conduct qualitative research when they do market research to better understand what their customers want. Anthropologists may look at how different cultures define marriage to better understand human behavior.
Because this type of research relies less on measurable data and statistics and more on direct sources, interviews are crucial to getting information.
You should record and preserve these interviews for the sake of accuracy and timeliness—two things that are vital for any type of research. Interview records may take the form of audio recordings or written transcripts.
What is Qualitative Research?
Qualitative research focuses more on exploring a topic than on finding concrete answers. In qualitative research, participants want to better understand the reasons and opinions behind a topic or issue. It often uses less structured methods to collect information. These may include focus groups and group discussions, individual interviews, and observations of groups or individuals.
An example of qualitative research may be to interview a person about their experience with driving a specific type of car. It can even identify trends and lead to new insights or hypotheses that are used for quantitative research.
In contrast, quantitative research focuses more on generating numeric data, specific measurements, and other information that can be converted into statistics. Quantitative research uses measurable data to establish facts or reveal patterns. This type of research should be tightly controlled by outside, objective researchers.
Quantitative research usually focuses on a larger sample population. It gathers information through methods such as surveys, website data, and longitudinal studies (which observe the same variables over short or long periods of time). An example of quantitative research may be tracking the number of cars a company sells over the course of a year.
Because human beings interact in families, work, and communities, it’s impossible to study each person as an isolated individual. Instead, human beings are best studied within their different cultures and other social units. This realization led to the development of qualitative research, also known as “naturalistic” research.
The Protocols of Qualitative Research
Since it is different from more traditional research, qualitative research has been criticized for not being “real” science. While it may not be judged by the same standards as quantitative research, credible qualitative research still follows particular protocols. These include:
- Context: Qualitative researchers should keep and report their methods, results, and conclusions within their proper context, including the time period or purpose of the research.
- Credibility: To establish and maintain credibility, qualitative researchers should always report any information. This includes biases, that could have affected the research or conclusions.
- Intellectual Integrity: Researchers should be open to, and even seek out, negative cases or evidence that contradicts their findings or conclusions.
- Transferability: The findings of qualitative research may not be generalized to other contexts or situations. Researchers should report them in a way that allows others to potentially transfer the findings or conclusions to their own context.
- Dependability: An outside auditor or peer reviewer should examine the researchers’ process and findings.
- Confirmability: Researchers and auditors should preserve all records and documents used or produced during qualitative research. This should include any interviews that the researchers conduct.
Qualitative researchers should keep accurate, numerous records of their entire process to help maintain credibility and integrity. To preserve their records, qualitative researchers may create written transcriptions of all the interviews they conduct.
Why Get A Transcription Of Qualitative Research Interviews?
Research is useless if it’s not accurate, documented, and preserved. When your findings are based largely on interviews, it’s important to use and maintain those interviews appropriately. That’s why transcribing your recorded interviews can be a huge help to your research.
Here are some of the major benefits of creating a transcription of an interview.
1. Transcription gives you a written record of your research.
A written, text-based document of a recorded audio qualitative research interview gives you more options for analyzing, storing, and sharing data. Storing text uses less memory than storing audio, and is available in more formats. Having a written transcription makes it easier to share with fellow researchers, participants, or outside auditors.
Written transcriptions also are more accessible. If the study is being peer-reviewed, a written transcription helps give the reviewer a more objective look at the interview questions and responses. For co-researchers or auditors who are not native English speakers, a written English transcription is easier to understand or translate to another language.
2. Transcription helps you save time.
The research process can be complex and lengthy, so you should seize any opportunity to save time without compromising results. Having a digital, typed transcription of a research interview will help you find the facts faster. There’s less need to play the audio or video recording over and over, searching for the part that you need. Instead, you can easily search the text or timestamps for specific words or quotes.
Planning to create a transcription can help your research even before it’s created! When you record an interview to transcribe later, you don’t have to worry as much about taking verbatim notes by hand. This can help you focus more on the interviewee, paying attention to tone and body language, and on the questions you’re asking.
3. Transcription keeps your research accurate.
When you record and make a transcription of an interview, you are no longer at the mercy of your memory and handwriting (or typing speed). With a transcription at hand, you have perfect recall of the interview questions and answers. This helps you adhere to the standard protocol that qualitative research requires, including credibility, context, and transferability.
A written transcription allows you to quote the interviewee exactly, and even cut-and-paste specific sections into other documents. More accurate records can help you prove a specific outlook, emphasize a particular point, or provide better context for your findings. An interview transcription can even help you notice information gaps so you can conduct follow-up research.
How To Transcribe An Interview For Qualitative Research
Instead of spending hours listening to your recording to transcribe the interview yourself, you could spend more time researching—or at least take a break! Transcribing your interview doesn’t have to be time-consuming.
With a little research, you can confidently choose which transcription company to use to transcribe your research interviews. Look for a company that:
- Has a good reputation, with positive reviews and high levels of customer satisfaction
- Offers the most beneficial features for your needs
- Suits your personal or research budget
- Offers close to 100% accuracy
Get Transcription Services For Research Interviews
When choosing a transcription service for your research interviews, you don’t need the process to be more complicated than it needs to be. Look for an interview transcription service that makes it easy to get started.
Every transcription service is a little different, but in general, you’ll need to first submit the audio file to be transcribed. Then, the software or transcriptionist will transcribe your file. Once complete, you should either receive the transcription as an email attachment or receive a link where you can access and download it.
Ready to Transcribe Your Research Interview?
Creating a transcription of an interview for your qualitative research study can keep you organized, save time, and help you adhere to research protocol. It will also make sure your findings are more accessible, and help you preserve the integrity of your research.
Find out why Rev is rated one of the easiest, most accurate, and most cost-effective transcription services in the industry. Get started with our transcription services to save time on your research process.