Recording and Transcribing Research Interviews – without the headache!

Research interviews can be a pain to conduct. All the steps you need to take - what to ask, what not to ask, and which people to ask - can be headache-inducing for a researcher, especially when you're under time constraints.

Add that to the task of transcribing 30 minutes worth of audio, and you've got yourself a borderline migraine.

The point is, qualitative interviews can be a daunting and complex process. There are many factors to take into consideration and lots of things can go wrong if researchers aren't careful.

Thankfully, you can make the interview process significantly less time-consuming and nerve-wracking using a couple tips we’ve shared in this article.

Read on to learn how to record and transcribe your interviews without a hitch.

How to Record Research Interviews for Qualitative Research Methods

The conventional way of recording qualitative data is through written notes. However, compared to recording an interview in audio, this method is slower, which can lead to the disruption of the flow of information from your participants.

This is why recording research interviews in audio is preferred as it allows the interviewer to gather everything the participant shared and at the same time have the ability to analyze and edit for clarity during production.

Here are a few tips to ensure a hassle-free audio interview recording:

Ask for consent

The very first step to a harmonious and orderly interview is the approval of the interviewee to be recorded. This ensures that they are well-prepared, and authorizes the entirety of the discussion without reservations.

Find a noise-free environment

Recording an interview works best when disruptions are kept to an absolute minimum; make sure you select the right place to interview, away from noises and other potential distractions. This prevents both the interviewer and interviewee from being absent-minded or out of focus.

Finding a noise-free environment is crucial because, as the interviewer, your subject's responses are very important to capture clearly. Quiet surroundings are recommended to best hear the interviewee’s answers and insights.

Position your recorder in a good spot

The voices of the interviewer and interviewee need to be heard clearly to avoid misinterpretation when your audio is transcribed later on. You can position your recorder for the best sound quality by placing it nearest to both you and your subject.

Get ready with your backup device

It’s always a good idea to come prepared for every situation, especially during interviews where the time of each person involved is limited. When unexpected situations take place, it is difficult and awkward to compromise someone’s schedule just for a retake due to technical difficulties. It can also reflect poorly on you as the interviewer - people expect their time to be valued.

To avoid a sticky tech situation, keep a backup device on hand at every interview. And - this goes without saying - check all your equipment before you begin recording so that you never need to ask for a retake.

Transcribing Your Interview

Transcribing interviews is considered one of the more tedious steps of conducting research, mostly because it can take an awful lot of time. It generally takes around 2-3 hours to accurately transcribe a 30-minute audio clip.

If you have that kind of time, lucky you! Unfortunately, you are still not exempt from the stress and hassle of typing every word, rewinding audio parts, and looping the same three seconds over and over again to get that tricky mumbled word right.

Most people tend to steer clear of manual transcribing for this reason. Many choose to utilize software that boosts their productivity instead, such as online transcription software. This enables them to calm down, put their feet up, and let the machine do its magic.

One of the best transcription software options is Transcribe. Many people have shaved hours off their research process via the use of Transcribe, as they no longer spend arduous hours typing out their interviews.

The Transcribe software automatically converts your audio to text in a short time span and with little-to-no errors.

Transcribe gives you two methods of choice for a faster and convenient transcription: Automatic Transcription and Self Transcription.

How to Transcribe Using Automatic Transcription

  1. Click on the “Automatic Transcription” button. Automatic Transcription transcribes well-recorded audio files accurately in a matter of minutes. It has a learning-based automatic transcription feature that promotes a user-friendly and quick way to transcribe interviews. Another load off your mind is that all the main audio formats such as mp3, mp4, m4a, wav are supported by Transcribe.
  2. Select your preferred transcription settings/options. Transcribe provides a set of options for users to modify the language, preview transcription, speaker identification, insertion of time codes, and more settings, ensuring that your audio suits the mode of transcribing.
  3. Upload your audio file. Once your file is uploaded, you can monitor the status of your transcription to track when it will be ready for download. Another plus when it comes to Transcribe is its privacy features. In order to uphold the privacy and security of its users, all audio and video files uploaded are automatically deleted after the transcription.
  4. Download your transcript. Export the transcribed file in your preferred format. You can export it either as a Word document or as a subtitle (SRT or VVT) file. Note that you'll only be able to export it as a subtitle if you set that option upon uploading your file.

How to Transcribe Using Self Transcription

  1. Click “Self Transcription” If you’re one to get things done on your own, Transcribe also gives users the option to self-transcribe. Self Transcription works by letting you take over the transcription, giving you tools to help speed up the process. Users may use Self Transcription to edit their transcriptions made from the previous Automatic Transcription option. To do this, simply click on the “Edit Transcription” button seen on the sidebar.
  2. Select the audio file and upload. After choosing your preferred file, a media player will pop up above the text editor along with an integrated editor to help with controlling the audio for faster transcribing.
  3. Take Control - use the following keyboard keys: Included in Transcribe’s time-saving features are keyboard shortcuts to take control of the audio so that it can better correspond with your typing speed. You can use the shortcuts to slow down, rewind, or skip forward the audio while typing.

How to Transcribe Using Voice Typing

For those who tend to get lazy in the middle of transcribing, Transcribe also has a feature for your benefit. The Dictate feature lets you speak what you hear and will continue transcribing on your behalf.

Here’s how:

  1. Plug your headphones into your computer.
  2. Click on “Dictate.” This feature supports languages from different countries, such as English, Spanish, French, Hindi, and several more.
  3. Once the button turns green, dictate what you hear from the audio, and it will automatically be transcribed. Transcribe provides a dictation engine that converts dictated words into text with great accuracy. This may help aid your tired fingers all the while transcribing quicker to your advantage. The Dictate method is believed to speed up transcription by 2 to 3 times!
  4. Transport and download your transcription.

Additional Features to Make Transcribing Easier

As you've read, there are many ways you can make transcribing effortless using Transcribe. Just when you think it ends there, though, there are even more features you should know about to make your transcription easier!

Transcribe includes supplementary features such as Templates, which enable you to create shortcuts for sentences.

There is also an auto loop feature, wherein the video is automatically paused and resumed instead of manually pressing the pause and play button when you want to take time in transcribing.

You can transcribe with the use of a foot pedal, too. Transcribe provides foot pedal features for those who are more comfortable using a foot pedal to control the audio.

Using a foot pedal, you are able to pause and resume the audio using your feet. This feature not only saves you time and increases your productivity, but also makes transcribing a whole lot more fun.

Try Transcribe for your next research interview - you'll never want to go back!

Still have questions? Contact us.

About this Guide

This is an attempt to build the definitive guide on various topics related to dictation, transcription & recording.

This guide is maintained by Transcribe, a professional and easy-to-use transcription software that helps you convert audio and video to text automatically.
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