How to Code an Interview Transcript: A Comprehensive Guide

How to code an interview transcript

Qualitative research utilizes non-numerical forms of evidence to support a hypothesis. It could include focus groups, documents, records, or interviews. These types of evidence add color to a study rather than focusing exclusively on the numbers.

Coding an interview allows you to structure and interpret your findings. Figuring out how to code interview data will enable you to get organized and produce more rigorous studies. To do this, you must know how to code an interview transcript.

What is Coding in Qualitative Research?

The process of coding the qualitative data you’ve gathered is an essential part of analyzing during your qualitative research. Generating usable data through qualitative data requires you to interpret, organize, and structure your observations and any interpretations you or your subjects have.

The benefit of coding is that you can be more critical and rigorous in your study. To successfully code an interview, however, you must create a transcript. You cannot code your qualitative data without first obtaining a full transcript.

Why are Interviews Useful for Qualitative Research?

Qualitative data brings color to both academic and business reports. You gain real-world perspectives that offer context and make studies more readable. People are attracted to human interest rather than a list of numbers.

Interviews are one of the best ways to get data directly from the source. Researchers can perform an interview analysis to get stories from the ground level. These stories make the conclusions of a study more relatable and engaging.

One interview analysis example could involve approaching someone with a one-of-a-kind story to gain a unique perspective. In addition, acquiring these perspectives helps you maintain the integrity of your content and avoid falling into the trap of embellishments.

Before discussing how to analyze interview data, which types of studies do these perspectives work best with?

First, obtaining qualitative data through interviews can benefit academic studies focusing on specific communities. They can also be helpful for business studies concentrating on a target audience, such as a focus group for a particular product or product type.

Interviews bring an otherwise bland study to life. Taking the time to gather qualitative data should be viewed as essential.

How to Analyze Interview Data

Thematic analysis is a common method used to analyze qualitative data such as interviews and transcripts. Researchers examine the data closely to come up with common themes. 

If you’re looking for a good approach to analyzing interview data, specifically determining people’s views, experiences, values, or opinions to develop an interview transcript, thematic analysis is one of the best approaches. 

Once you choose to use thematic analysis, there are additional approaches to consider: inductive and deductive. 

In this section, you will learn about using a deductive or inductive approach for interview data analysis.  

Analyzing Transcripts with Inductive and Deductive Methods

If you decide to use a thematic analysis, you will begin by examining your data for any biases. You will also need to take a broad impression of the data. No predetermined framework is involved when approaching your data using the thematic method.

As mentioned above, your objective is to identify common themes across your material. Seek out the common patterns that unite your data.

The challenge involved in the thematic analysis is making sense of each response. It’s important not to get bogged down in the details. Highlight the critical areas found within other areas of your study.

So, how does deductive analysis differ from inductive analysis?

Deductive analysis does require a predetermined framework. You must approach it with a structured view. The categories will be built in advance of performing an interview data analysis. Researchers will then analyze their data and map the connections found within the data.

On the other hand, inductive analysis does not require a predetermined framework. The aim of an inductive approach is to develop a theory, whereas the aim of a deductive approach is to test an existing theory. If there isn’t much information on a topic, inductive research is typically performed since there isn’t a theory to test. 

Qualitative data is always far more challenging to analyze than quantitative data. You must be careful of allowing one or more individual stories to influence the entire study. There are also your own biases and misconceptions to take into account.

Researchers must cast their initial impressions aside and maintain a neutral outlook to draw reliable conclusions from qualitative data correctly.

Losing essential facts during the process of conducting an interview to publishing a study is a common pitfall. Detailed transcription is vital for relaying information to the rest of your team and maintaining the overall integrity of your study.

Coding an interview transcript is not especially difficult, but it can be time-consuming if you do not have the right tools at your disposal.

How to Code an Interview Transcript

Learning how to code qualitative interviews requires following several steps. To get to the point where you can successfully code a transcript, you must create a transcription of each interview you conduct.

Step One – Transcribe Your Interview with Sonix

Creating transcriptions for numerous interviews and focus groups previously required many long hours of work. Today, artificial intelligence is a game changer, and Sonix is a pioneer in low-cost automated transcription software powered by artificial intelligence.

Plug your audio or video file into Sonix, upload it, and let us create your transcript in minutes. We offer the most accurate software option in the business, and you can edit out any mistakes at the end of the process.

What typically required hundreds of hours of work in large-scale studies can now happen in a single day.

Step Two – First Round Coding Pass

The next step in how to code an interview transcript is to perform the first-round pass. You will begin by reading through your data and assigning different codes to various parts of the interviews you took.

Your codes don’t need to be perfect at this stage since they will evolve as you move further into the process. Initially, you need to decide which parts of your data to code and the names of each code.

Here are some examples of the coding techniques you can utilize when working out how to code interviews for the first time:

  • In Vivo Coding – Using the participant’s own words instead of your interpretation as a researcher in the project. This form of coding aims to stay true to the original intent and meaning.
  • Process Coding – This type of coding uses codes to capture an action. Most of the time, these codes will end with “ing.”
  • Open Coding – With this form of coding, you will shatter your qualitative data to create much smaller excerpts. Your codes will be loose and more tentative, focusing on definition, category, label, and description.
  • Descriptive Coding – Summarize your transcript and create a description that accurately reflects each interview. Your codes will focus on the overarching content of the interview.
  • Structural Coding – Categorize sections of your transcripts based on a specific structure. Researchers prefer this type of coding when handling larger studies with numerous interviews to analyze.
  • Values Coding – Values coding concentrates on the person’s attitudes, beliefs, and values.
  • Simultaneous Coding – As you become more experienced, you may opt to use several coding systems on the same set of qualitative data.

The type of coding system you decide to use when working out how to code an interview transcript depends on the nature of your study, its participants, and what you want to achieve.

Step Three – Create Categories and Subcodes

Once you have completed your first pass and assigned your coding type, you can start creating categories. A category is simply a group of codes.

Organizing these categories depends on your study and research methods. Some people may group similar codes or link them based on a general concept or a topic.

It usually requires trial and error to find the structure that makes sense for your interview data analysis.

Step Four – Complete Further Rounds of Coding

The initial coding pass is viewed as fast and loose. Further rounds of coding involve re-examining those codes and categories. You may re-code, recategorize, or rename your codes with each phase.

Subsequent coding rounds hone in on finding additional patterns, reanalyzing your qualitative data, and moving toward developing concepts and theories.

You will find that as you move through each round, the number of codes you have will decrease. Remember, you are actively searching for how best to code your interviews coherently.

With so many methods of coding your qualitative data, it’s not uncommon for researchers to struggle during later rounds of coding. Here are some examples of different coding types you may choose to apply.

Thematic Analysis

The purpose of coding using thematic analysis is to find the recurring themes and patterns within your qualitative data. With each round of coding, new trends emerge, and you can begin merging codes.

Thematic analysis may also result in pattern coding, which involves grouping excerpts with similar codes under one overall code.

Another type of coding that is commonly paired with thematic analysis is axial coding. With axial coding, codes and categories are related based on relationships found within each round of coding.

Focused Coding

Focused coding, or selective coding, involves finalizing a set of categories and codes based on your initial coding pass. You likely already used open coding during your first pass using the focused coding system.

Qualitative data should be re-coded according to your final code list. This list is immovable and should not be deviated from.

Theoretical Coding

Using theoretical coding involves creating a concept and sorting/organizing codes based on that concept. The way you structure both codes and categories will relate to what you discovered when analyzing your qualitative data. It is this that leads to the development of a theory.

Elaborative Coding

If you are conducting subsequent studies that build upon another, elaborative coding will be your go-to system.

The mission of elaborative coding is to determine whether your current codes and categories relate to that previous study.

Step Five – Create Your Final Narrative

You are not bound by a single coding system. It is considered a best practice to perform multiple coding types to finalize your codes/categories and to create a final narrative.

Your final outcome depends on the type and purpose of your research. It could be a theory, narrative, or your findings.

You will develop your findings and use the codes and categories to build your narrative during your conclusion. The process enables other researchers to follow up on your coding throughout their interviews to challenge and re-align your theory.

Make Creating Interview Transcripts Easier with Sonix 

Coding is an essential part of any study that utilizes qualitative data to develop a theory, narrative, or conclusion. The coding process can be highly in-depth, meaning it will take time to find the right system for you.

Successful interview coding begins with your transcript. Sonix is the fastest and most accurate solution for creating transcripts of your interviews. 

To learn how Sonix makes it easier to create transcripts with the world’s leading transcription software, try it for free now!

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