Qualitative Research Transcription And How Transcripts Improve Research Methodology

Science is not all about numbers. Qualitative data analysis, which uses non-numerical data, is an important research process for social sciences to market research. Unlike quantitative data, qualitative data is much more complex to collect, analyze, and use. Transcription, the process of converting audio or video data into digital text, can significantly help the qualitative research process. 

In this article, you’ll learn how: 

  • Research projects employing qualitative data collection can reap the benefits of the transcription process.
  • Transcription in qualitative studies with large volumes of data requires absolute accuracy. Using automated transcription for qualitative research might not be the best option, as AI solutions are inaccurate. Inaccuracies in the transcription results can threaten the authority and integrity of the research findings. 
  • Ditto Transcripts provides the most accurate and affordable research and academic transcription services. We guarantee 99% accuracy in all projects, different pricing options depending on your budget and needs, excellent customer service, and the highest security measures in the industry. 

What Is A Qualitative Research Transcription Service?

Qualitative research transcription converts spoken words or audio or video data into text format. There are five steps in qualitative research transcription:

  1. The researchers record an audio or video file as a part of their research and then send it to the audio transcription service. 
  2. The professional transcription solution provider listens to spoken data and accurately documents everything. Depending on the type of transcription, the transcriber will either write it down verbatim or clean up the transcript (aka intelligent verbatim transcription). 
  3. The transcript is edited to fit the required formatting guidelines. 
  4. A proofreader or transcription editor looks over the transcript to check for errors. 
  5. Once the transcript is complete and cleaned up, it is returned to the client for the qualitative research project. At the same time, the transcript is archived on the provider’s platforms.

According to a recent article published in The International Journal Of Innovation In English Language Teaching And Research, “Transcription is a powerful act of data representation, analysis, and interpretation in such a way that it exerts considerable influence on how data are conceptualized.”

In other words, transcription is a socio-cognitive and process-oriented activity which involves critical, reflective, and attentive thoughts at macro and micro levels of transcription.” 

Where Can You Apply Transcription in Qualitative Research

Transcription can benefit different types of data collection processes. Here are some of them:

Event/ContextDescription
In-depth InterviewsTranscribing or captioning one-on-one interviews to capture every part of the conversation for later analysis.
Focus GroupsTranscription of guided group discussions to capture the dynamic interplay of ideas and opinions.
Observational ResearchTranscribing field notes or audio of interactions and events in ethnographic studies or similar settings.
Academic ResearchUse of transcription in theses, dissertations, or research projects to examine complex social phenomena or theoretical concepts.
Case StudiesTranscribing interviews, meetings, and other interactions in detailed studies of individual or organizational subjects.
Market ResearchTranscribing focus groups, customer interviews, and user testing sessions to analyze consumer preferences and behaviors.
Healthcare and CounselingRecording and transcribing patient interviews, counseling sessions, and doctor-patient interactions to study health behaviors or treatment outcomes.
Legal Proceedings and DepositionsCreating accurate records of testimonies, depositions, and other legal proceedings.
Seminars and LecturesTranscribing content from seminars, workshops, and lectures to aid in creating resources for further study or publication.
Media and JournalismTranscribing interviews, documentaries, and news reports to analyze content or produce written materials based on spoken word content.

How To Get Qualitative Data Transcription

There are two ways to get a transcript: research assistants or commercial transcription companies. Let’s discover the pros and cons of each.

Having Your Assistants Do It

On the face of it, having your research assistants transcribe qualitative data may look easy and cost-efficient. However, you must consider one important factor before going down that route. Transcription is a time-consuming process. Generally, it takes a professional transcriptionist three to four hours to transcribe one audio hour. 

Note the use of the word professional here. That means that particular transcriptionist comes with years of skills and experience in transcribing audio. They’ve had time to develop a standard transcription template and workflow to do things faster. 

Your assistants, skilled as they might be in your particular field, are more than likely not  at the professional transcriptionist level. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have them work on something more important, like overseeing the collection and data analysis process? 

Outsource Transcription To The Pros

Qualitative or even quantitative research can take massive amounts of time and effort. However, the role of transcription in qualitative research methods is an overall positive addition. So, should you add hours upon hours of transcription projects to your workload just to reap the benefits? 

Of course not. You can hire a professional transcription service to get all the advantages. A+ if you can get an accurate, professional, yet affordable provider, like Ditto Transcripts. 

Why Not Get AI To Do Audio Transcription?

Artificial intelligence is a great blessing to researchers around the world. With it, pattern recognition, predictive analysis, experimental procedure automation, research data optimization, and enhanced simulation are undoubtedly faster. 

Perceptive readers might notice that transcription is ostensibly absent on this list. Why is that? 

That’s because current research puts the accuracy rate of speech recognition and AI transcription at 86%. 86% accuracy may be fine for something like taking down notes or setting up reminders—anything that doesn’t require professional or procedural use. 

For research projects, however, 86 might as well be zero percent. 

Here are just some of the consequences of inaccurate qualitative research transcripts. 

  • Misinterpretation of Data
  • Loss of Credibility
  • Ethical Implications
  • Flawed Analysis and Results
  • Resource Wastage
  • Publication and Dissemination Issues
  • Legal Consequences
  • Impact on Future Research
  • Damage to Participant Relationships
  • Compromised Decision Making

AI transcription work is at the mercy of background noise, overlapping speakers, different accents and dialects, and poor audio file quality. It cannot identify nuance and utilize context to create a more accurate verbatim transcription — things that come naturally to experienced human transcriptionists. 

That’s why I always say humans are better at understanding humans. Ditto Transcripts offers 100% human-powered, U.S.-based transcription for any research, academic, or interview transcription requirements, and we guarantee 99% accuracy every time. 

Benefits Of Transcription For Qualitative Data Analysis

Research objectives and the nature of the data may change, but the benefits of transcription stay the same. Here are some of them: 

Accurate Transcription Process

Qualitative research may require a deeper immersion in the data. Professional transcription services offer high accuracy in converting spoken words into written text. Accurate transcripts ensure researchers have a reliable text representation of their audio or video data, which can be used in manual analysis or through computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software. 

Having inaccurate transcripts, meanwhile, can inflate workloads and negatively impact productivity. Speaking of which—

Enhanced Analysis

As mentioned earlier, transcripts make it easier to perform qualitative data analysis techniques such as coding, thematic analysis, or discourse analysis. Researchers can easily read through collected data transcripts, annotate them, and identify patterns and themes. Depending on the research, the data from transcripts can also be fed through advanced analysis tools like AI to reduce working time. 

Ease of Sharing and Collaboration

Sure, multi-gigabyte interview videos for academic research can be stored in flash drives or uploaded to the internet for sharing. Unfortunately, even with the fastest internet speeds, uploading still takes time. Transcripts, however, only take up a literal fraction of the space, which means they can be easily stored and accessed. 

That’s why transcribed data is easier to share with team members, advisors, or other stakeholders involved in the research. Furthermore, it facilitates collaboration, as research members can review, annotate, and comment on the same text document—something that could only be done face-to-face back in the day. 

Reduces Work Time

Research transcription is important to ensure accuracy. It can also improve productivity by taking away essential but non-core parts of the research and assigning it to someone else.  Using transcription services, researchers can save valuable time and focus on data collection and data analysis—arguably the most critical aspects of any project.

Ensuring Security And Privacy

Transcription services will have unprecedented access to your research data and methodology, so you need to be able to trust them with both the accuracy of transcription and the security of your information. Look for providers that offer high-quality encryption, elevated user access management, scaled network redundancy, VPN integration, and compliance with various regulatory bodies to protect your qualitative research data. 

Looking For Accurate, High-Quality Transcripts? Look No Further Than Ditto

The significance of transcription cannot be understated. However, that all depends on whether you can choose the right transcription service for your needs. 

With Ditto, you know you’re getting your money’s worth and more. We offer faster deliveries for rush jobs and more economical prices to fit tighter budgets. Regardless of price, all our services come with our 99% accuracy guarantee, high-quality transcription, secure channels, and the best customer service in the industry. 

Ditto Transcripts is a HIPAA-compliant and CJIS-compliant Denver, Colorado-based academic transcription services company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcripts for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.

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