Qualitative Data Gathering

I might be jumping the gun here a bit with an early reflection, but it's timely for me, so I'll post!

I've completed 2 of my 4 interviews and have transcribed the recordings. Wow, I went into that blind! I was completely caught off guard by the amount of time it took to do this. I think I got better (about 2/3 of the way through my second interview) of playing the tape slowly enough that I could keep up with the typing (I'm about 70 wpm typing) but even then it was like listening to two really drunk people talk (because the tape was going sssoooo sssllloooowwww). Thank goodness for modern software - now if I could only afford that Dragon Naturally Speaking I'd interview more people!

The main thing I want to reflect on here and get feedback from others is with regard to the actual transcripts. Cresswell suggests recording everything word for word, indicating pauses, laughter, even gestures. I've tried my best to do this, but as you transcribe you realize very quickly that we speak MUCH differently than we write. I also plan to do some member checking and indicated to my participants that I would share their transcripts with them so they could make sure that I've captured the essence of what they meant to say.

What I'm worried about is this: I can recall, this summer, one of our presenters talking about sharing the transcript and the interviewee being very offended by the number of "umms", "yeahs", "you knows", "likes", etc. How much of this can I clean up or can I clean up any of it? It seems to me right now that some of it is noise and I'd like to remove that, I don't want people to read what they said and feel surprised about speak patterns and at the same time I want to make sure I stay true to the process and not lose any meaning in the data?

Look for you thoughts?

1 comment:

Charmaine said...

Hi Corey!
Nice to *see* you again! I've been caught in this same conundrum many times. I'm not sure my method is best but it seemed to work for me. While transcribing I only keep the umms and ahhs that contribute to the essence of the interviewees message. I do not include them if I consider them to be simply conversational patterns. Of course this is all highly subjective. I didn't want the interviewee to be distracted and embarrassed by all the "likes" or "you knows" so I usually did not included them. I did however include "gee, not sure, well, ummm" because it reflected a thought pause or uncertainty which was important to my interpretation. Not sure that helps or not! It's painstakingly slow no matter how you do it. But persevere! Interview data is rich and helps you get to those big ideas! :-) Cheers!

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