Ross (2010) defines transcription as the conversion of speech into text. This process is common while analyzing qualitative data and therefore, the nature and the intensity of the process can pose a challenge on data analysis and consequently the research findings.
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This write up will highlight data transcription as a qualitative data analysis challenge through critically analyzing three articles that have dwelt on this subject and, propose possible research approaches that can be used to conduct similar studies.
Ross argument on transcription of interviews
Ross (2010) in his article titled “Was that Infinity or Affinity? Applying Insights from Transcription Studies to Qualitative Research Transcription” outlines that over the years many researchers have overlooked the transcription of interviews as a major challenge in the research process.
Ross (2010) argues that the findings of a qualitative research that employs interviews as a mode of data collection, is subject to criticism because of the direct influence of the researcher. This is because the researcher plays a critical role while capturing the themes and as a result, misinterpretation of the interviewee insights might occur thus, compromising on the internal validity of the research.
To illustrate the problem, Ross (2010) has highlighted the importance of the transcription process in data analysis by providing a comprehensive background on research transcription and translation techniques.
He has also mentioned authors who have failed to identify transcription as a major qualitative research challenge. Further, Ross (2010) has used several theories of transcription such as equivalence, Foreignisation and domestication.
In addition, Ross (2010) has analysed several interviews with particular emphasis on the different aspects of a conversation in order to emulate the importance of transcription. The use of various examples of verbatim transcriptions and a narration on the practicality of an effective transcription process makes Ross work convincing.
Research work highlighting transcription of interviews
Rapley’s argument on considerations on analysing interviews
With reference to the topic understudy, Rapley John conducted a research that was aimed at highlighting major issues with regards to analysis of interviews.
His research work tiled “The art (fullness) of open-ended interviewing: some considerations on analysing interviews, Rapley (2001) used extracts from interviews to indicate that the end product of the interview process is dependant on the constructive relations between the interviewee and the interviewer and their understanding of the topic.
Further, Rapley (2001) has emphasised on the role of transcription and its significance in ensuring that the findings of the analysis are consistent with the context and circumstances under which a particular interview was generated.
Rapley (2001) findings indicate that conversation analysis is an important aspect of the transcription process and as such, for a researcher to arrive at an appropriate transcription process it is important to familiarize themselves with the process through which the interview was conducted and the circumstances surrounding the product of the interview.
Further, Rapley’s (2001) findings acknowledge that, to adequately transcribe interviews, the interview process should be viewed as an interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee. He further emphasizes that there is a dire need to understand the goals or the objectives of the interviewer.
The strength of this research is based on Rapley’s tendency to use real interviews in order to explain his point with reference to transcription thus, improving on the validly of the research.
The use of other research findings in comparison with his work is a clear indication of a thoroughly researched work and thus a positive pointer to his research. The major limiting factors in this research are the use of secondary data and the lack of an explanation as to the criteria used to sample the data.
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Mclellan, Macqueen and Neidig argument on data preparation and transcription
On another similar research conducted by Mclellan, Macqueen and Neidig in 2003 and titled “Beyond the qualitative interview: data preparation and transcription”, the researchers strive to highlight the importance of data management.
In their findings, the researchers acknowledge that while analysing interviews, it is important for a researcher to identify whether the transcription analysis best presents their arguments as compared to field notes acquired by the interviewer.
They therefore recommend that the nature and intensity of the transcription process employed should be consistent with the nature and intensity of the analysis required (Mclellan, Macqueen & Neidig 2003).
The strengths of this research lie in the ability of the researchers to cover the step by step process of data transcription protocol and providing the rational and supporting arguments from other research findings on the importance and actualization of the various stages.
Some of the limitations of this research include the researcher’s tendency to relay on other research findings to explain their arguments rather than employing the use of primary data.
Applications of Rapley’s and Mclellan, Macqueen and Neidig findings
Both studies have furthered our understanding of transcription as a major challenge in qualitative data analysis. Rapley study has helped us to understand that it is important to comprehend the context under which a particular interview was conducted in order to conduct a conclusive transcription.
On the other hand, Mclellan, Macqueen and Neidig research has helped us to understand the importance of accessing the level of analysis required in order to ensure consistency between the transcription processes and the intended level of analysis.
Mclellan, E, Macqueen, M & Neidig L 2003, ‘Beyond the qualitative interview: data preparation and transcription’, Sage publications, vol. 15, no.1, pp. 63-84.
Rapley, J 2001, ‘Was that Infinity or Affinity? Applying Insights from Transcription Studies to Qualitative Research Transcription’, Sage Publications, vol. 1, no.3, pp. 303-323.
Ross, J 2010, ‘Was that Infinity or Affinity? Applying Insights from Transcription Studies to Qualitative Research Transcription’, Journal of Qualitative Social Research, vol.11, no.2, art. 2.