Transcription: Student Workshops

Author: Kate Cowan

Qualitative research typically involves some form of transcription (such as representing an interviewee’s speech as writing, or video as writing with images). Choices about precisely what and how to transcribe entail inevitable gains and losses, positioning transcription as an interpretive, theory-laden stage in the research process.

However, many research methods handbooks and much research training includes only fleeting references to the academic practice of transcription, often presenting it as a straightforward secretarial act of preparing data for analysis. It has also been noted that decisions about transcription are seldom discussed or justified by researchers in their published reports (Davidson 2009), suggesting that increased researcher reflexivity might help to make transcriptional choices principled and transparent, supporting interpretations of data, and going some way to settling conventions and sharing ways of overcoming challenges in transcription.

With this in mind, the PhD students of MODE and NOVELLA will be running a series of student workshops which aim to discuss issues of selection and representation in transcription. While our methods and areas of interest are varied, transcription features as an issue all our research, and is an issue of relevance doctoral students more broadly. Over four sessions, we will consider some key issues and perspectives on transcription, incorporating practical examples from our own MODE and NOVELLA doctoral projects, which include the transcription of:

–          face-to-face interviews

–          interviews involving interpreters

–          telephone and email interviews

–          video-recorded face-to-face interaction

–          film and moving image

–          online interaction

The sessions will begin in January 2014. Information of dates and times can be found in the IoE doctoral school handbook (p136):

Further information about booking places will be made available soon. To express interest in attending, email Kate Cowan:

ReferencesDavidson, C. 2009. Transcription: Imperatives for qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 8, no. 2: 35–52.

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