Monday, 27 July 2009


For all the interviews on my first couple of case studies, I did the transcription. Some of the later interviews I get transcribed. However, there're issues about transcription.

In one case study, most of the interviews took place in an otherwise empty meeting room. sound was clear - or it was to me anyhow as I didn't have anything to compare when I came to transcribe. No interruptions happened. The table available to sit at together was short, so interviewer and interviewee could sit at a corner at right angle,s and usually the participant interviewee came in and chose a seat at the end of the table with his/ her back to the door.

Another interview was in a meeting room with a big table that took up most of the room. I had a helper who sat on one site, and the participant on the other opposite the helper. Acoustics were good, but the interviews were rushed because of circumstance. Another time, there were two participants together, squeezed into a corner of a room with me and my helper. Later my helper commented that perhaps her presence might have affected what was said - interesting. Again, that interview was rushed. But the acoustics were adequate.

I've done several interviews in what I thought was a quiet office with good acoustics and no interruptions but a transcriber has commented on unclear speech. I've done interviews in quite noisy rooms with lots of other people, yet the quality was good and the transcriber reported no problems.

Listening again to the interviews with problems, it seems there might be two issues.
  1. the speaker was unclear,
  2. the transcriber might have a different accent from the speaker
Having read Kvale on transcription, I now realise that in transcribing, I'm constructing something to model the conversation that took place so I'm now annotating transcriptions where I hear something different from what the transcriber put down. Not only are there differences in what people might hear from the recording, but the body language is missing, the action of sketching diagrams as we talked is missing, and I've gone through each transcription anonymising all identifiable information.

So I've created my own construction on what was discussed before I've even started any analysis.

Kvale, 1996, InterViews: introduction to qualitative research interviewing

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