It can be the part of University that people dread, or look forward to – writing your dissertation! Interviews are often a common part of the research stage, as you need to make sure you have the findings to either back up your hypothesis or prove it incorrect.
The best way to have enough information to analyse is to have the complete picture from your interviews. Simply taking notes may not be enough, but a full transcription can help you to have more clarity on what is being said, and therefore see the information you need for your dissertation.
Why should I use transcription for my dissertation interview?
Audio files are very difficult to keep searching through and referring back to. So much extra time can be spent rewinding and fast-forwarding through the file to get to the section you need.
An interview transcription allows you to search and analyse the data much quicker and in more detail. The efficiency of working with a large piece of the written text in comparison to a section of audio is much greater. What could take minutes of skipping through audio, can be done in seconds with a simple ‘CMD+F’ or ‘CTRL+F’ shortcut.
The benefits stretch to before the analysis too; as when you’re actually conducting the interview, if you already know you are getting it transcribed at a later date, you can be fully present. Your attention will not need to be diverted from the interviewee as you take notes.
How do I prepare my audio for transcription?
Before you commence your interview for your dissertation, a little prep can make sure the audio can be transcribed accurately. Imagine how much of a disaster it would be to finish the interview, only to find out the recording is deemed indecipherable due to sound quality.
First off, you should always let your interviewee know that they are being recorded. It will mean they, naturally, pay more attention to their dictation (and is always important to state for sensitive issues).
A smartphone voice recording app should work in environments with no ambient noise, but a proper voice recorder is always the best option. Make sure you test it before you go ahead.
What type of transcription do I need for my dissertation?
For your dissertation interview transcription, as will all transcriptions, there are a few different styles to choose from. The best one for you will depend on what you require and how you are analysing your interview. Your options to choose from are:
This captures everything – all words that are spoken, and also any linguistic tic such as pauses, stutters, grunts, ‘um’s and ‘ah’s. These are often vital for qualitative research
This is a more simple version of strict verbatim. All of the fillers, repetitions and speech tics are omitted so that you are left with only what is said. This is super easy to read and make sense of.
A more concise summarising of the audio. Dialogue is still transcribed with some verbatim quotes included, but any repetition or non-relevant discussion is left out, and some sentences edited.
When writing your final year dissertation, it’s crucial you have easy access to the information you need to enrich and inform your writing. Creating this that from audio can be very challenging.
Choosing the appropriate transcription service for you, gives you the data you need, as soon as you need it.