Monday, January 28, 2013

Recording Interviews for Transcription - The Do's and Don'ts


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Recording research interviews for data analysis is crucial for postgraduate students and academic researchers. Ensuring that your interview recording is of superb quality and clarity where all valuable comments and contributions can be clearly heard is key. Read on to learn about some really simple but effective things you can do to ensure you get the best recording every time.

• Recording device: choosing the right digital recorder is of course key to your success so ensure that the device has features that meets all of your requirements. Your recorder is an investment, remember, it can be used beyond this research for note taking and business dictation. Look for a device with a choice of recording quality settings, adequate memory capacity, a choice of file formats to save as and a high speed file transfer mechanism to your PC.

• Microphone type and position: for interview transcription and multiple speaker recordings it is always better to use external microphones rather than built-in microphones. Some devices have detachable mics or can be used with omni-directional mics on a tripod. The best practice guide is one microphone to every two interviewees where possible. To a trial run, test your recording device, microphone position and sound levels before you kick-off.

• Environmental noise: choose your interview venue carefully and think of all factors that could contribute to background noise such as hard wood floors, high ceilings, etc. Close all windows to drown out noise from traffic and switch off all mobile phones. Serve all refreshments before or after your interview takes place and be mindful that shuffling papers or coughing/sneezing can drown out the speaker!

• Introductions and briefing interviewees: if you do not want general chit chat transcribed at the start of your recordings then ensure you brief interviewees before you start recording. At this point it is useful to reiterate the purpose of your research and highlight anything you wish to discuss in advance. Give a handout - some information on your research or the questions you will be covering during the interview. If, however, in group interviews you wish to identify speakers then record your introductions and ask each interviewee to say their name each time they contribute.
Additionally, the interviewer can thank each interviewee by name after each lengthy contribution to ensure the interviewee's name has been captured for transcription purposes.

• Saving and uploading the files: now that your interview has taken place be sure to keep the data safe. As soon as you have recorded your interview transfer it onto your PC using the USB cable (or similar) provided with the device. It is also worthwhile backing up the file on a CD or flash drive or sending a copy straight on to your transcription service to get started as you continue to record.

• Use a transcription service: transcribing research interviews is very time consuming and you need to be a fast and accurate typist. To do it properly you need specialist transcription equipment too! Transcribing voice to text requires experience. Each interviewee will each have a different accent and a different flow of speech and this can be very frustrating to transcribe. A professional transcription service will ensure the transcript reads properly, is laid out well and has the correct use of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Cost is of course always an issue when using a service, however, the time transcribing takes can be prohibitive and your valuable time is better spent elsewhere.

• Decide on your layout and format: Once you have chosen your transcription service provider give them clear and concise introductions in terms of your requirements. Ask them for advice if you are unsure as they have lots of experience in this field. What layout would you like? What font size? What font type? Is it essential that multiple speakers are identified? Provide the transcription service with a list of key words used during the interviews and an agenda or the questions used. Provide all relevant information pertaining to the research topic as this will greatly improve the accuracy.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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