Qualitative Data Transcription for Academic Research

Qualitative Data Transcription for Academic Research
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Transcription services are critical in assisting university students and researchers in comprehending, analyzing, and presenting qualitative data.

Transcribing audio or video recordings is often required while conducting research and compiling information from focus groups, group meetings, one-on-one interviews, or observations.

However, there are multiple types of transcription methods, and there are several avenues to generate a transcript.

This article guides you on the types of transcripts and choosing the best method to develop transcripts for qualitative research.

What is Academic Research Transcription?

Basically, transcription for academic research is the act of transcribing audio or video recordings of study findings into text format for further examination.

Though transcripts are used by several students and professionals while doing qualitative research, the actual process of generating transcripts can take a lot of time and effort and can be exhausting for amateurs.

However, transcripts are useful as researchers spend a substantial amount of time designing research, data collection, analysis, etc.

Therefore, reviewing transcripts instead of listening to an audio recording repeatedly to scan it for data, therefore, saving a lot of time for the researchers.

When Should Transcription Be Used in Academia?

Some research approaches that require transcription because they come in audio or visual formats include:

  • Interviews
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Focus groups
  • Group discussions
  • Conferences with the press
  • Consultations
  • Types of Transcription

See Also: Major Benefits of Using Transcription in Academic Research

Types of Transcription

There are three basic types of transcription, as described below:

1. Verbatim

Everything is recorded verbatim as it was on the audio file. This means every cough, shuffling and moving noise, and inaudible phrase is transcribed exactly as heard on the original tape.

Grammatical errors, slang, and pauses are all examples of this. This is ideal for you if you require a transcript that accurately captures everything that happened.

2. Semi-Verbatim

This is a comparable service to the verbatim service. However, for clarity's sake, gaps between words such as “err”s and “umm”s are eliminated.

To keep the conversation transcribed according to the original recording, all filler words, broken sentences, and repeats are left intact.

3. Intelligent Paraphrase

Intelligent verbatim transcribing involves editing the overall transcript by a skilled and experienced transcriber to remove superfluous words, correct grammatical errors, and connect sentences.

However, the process ensures that the final transcript accurately portrays the intents and purposes of the original recording.

Best Transcription Methods

If you want your audio or video transcribed, you can opt for either of the following methods:

1. Do It Yourself

Many people choose to convert audio recordings to text on their own. It's unquestionably the most cost-effective way because it requires no upfront investment.

However, these transcripts often encounter errors, especially if you were present during the original recording.

Doing it yourself also takes a long time, especially if there are numerous voices on the audio, some of which have accents. You may have trouble differentiating who said what, diluting the impact of your research findings.

This is probably not the greatest solution for your research if you have several recordings or need them transcribed quickly and accurately.

2. Using an App

If you want to keep your distance from transcribing and save time, an app might be viable. Numerous inexpensive app-based solutions transcribe audio and video recordings into text using AI-driven Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology.

However, human transcribing services are far more accurate than ASR transcriptions, and you may have to spend more time fixing the errors from the app’s transcription.

Whereas human transcription services can guarantee 99% accuracy, ASR barely achieves about 60%-80% accuracy.

Some app-based alternatives do not securely store your data. This strategy may not be appropriate if you transcribe highly sensitive information as part of your qualitative research.

3. Human Transcription

Human transcribing services are commonly considered the gold standard in the transcription industry.

Not only do the professional transcriptionists experts who convert your audio into text documents have decades of experience, but they've also worked with a variety of voices, accents, and languages. They can provide accurate multilingual transcriptions.

However, professional qualitative transcription services like GMR Transcription can also provide safe, encrypted transcription with maximum protection of sensitive material and data. Many academic researchers believe it is a worthwhile investment in a context where your research approach must be flawless and peer-reviewed.

See Also: What Are the Key Differences Between Primary and Secondary Research?

The Ideal Method to Represent Data

Firstly, the transcript should be in a text-based format, such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or PDF. This makes annotating your transcripts easier, whether on a computer or by hand if you've printed it.

Transcriptions should indicate who is speaking on the left-hand side of the page, and timestamps at the start of each new speech segment are encouraged for clarity.

Next, if you're transcribing to analyze the conversation, you might want to use a universal notation system like the Jefferson Transcription System.

While a transcript using Jefferson-style transcription notation captures the complete complexity of interaction, readability suffers. As a result, it should only be used by discourse analyzers and scholars interested in the speech itself.

Looking for expert qualitative research transcription services?

At GMR Transcription Services, Inc., we provide accurate and affordable research transcription services. You can visit our website or call us to speak to our professional transcription experts to discuss your needs.

Our team consists of 100% human US-based transcriptionists, and we can cater to all qualitative transcription requirements for students, professors, academic researchers, and more.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.