Qualitative research is used every single day across different industries, academic fields, medicine, and more. This type of research centers around societies, cultures, individuals, and language. For example, anthropologists may look at how cultures define adulthood to better understand their place in society and human behavior. A fashion brand may do qualitative research to better understand what customers want to wear or purchase.
One of the most important aspects of qualitative research is interviews. Interviews allow for information gathering, accurate timelines, and first-hand knowledge. When conducting these interviews, you want to preserve them so that you can revisit them when necessary, preserve the topic, and have a record of your sources. Records can be audio files, written transcripts, or both. Transcribing your research has a multitude of benefits which we will talk about throughout this article.
What is qualitative research?
When someone does qualitative research (or naturalistic research, as it is also known), they aren’t necessarily looking for hard data or concrete answers. Instead, they are exploring the topic to get a better understanding of the why. They want to know opinions, rituals, reasons, and more for specific topics or issues. Often, this leads to less structured ways to collect information, including focus groups, discussions, interviews, observations, and more.
One example of qualitative research may be interviewing someone about their experiences during a world event. You may be able to identify how someone felt during a time of crisis, for example. You can use what they say to gain new insights.
Quantitative data, on the other hand, is all about the numbers. It uses specificity and statistics to provide results. Researchers are tightly controlled and use this to get concrete answers, establish facts, and reveal patterns in behavior. Typically, the sample population is much larger simply because the information doesn’t take as long to get – sometimes collection is automatic.
It is impossible to study anyone in isolation – we live and work with people. Instead, it is best to study people in relation to their cultures, social units, upbringings, and more.
Qualitative research protocols
Due to the fact that qualitative research is so different from traditional research, some people have found fault with it. It typically isn’t judged by the same standards as quantitative research – but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t similar protocols. Including:
- Context: Researchers need to keep track of and report all of their methods, results, and conclusions. They should also record context, including date, time, and purpose.
- Credibility: In order to establish (and maintain) credibility, researchers need to report any and all information. This can include (but isn’t limited to) biases.
- Intellectual Integrity: Researched need to seek out negative cases that contradicts their own findings.
- Transferability: All findings cannot be generalized to other situations. Researchers need to report them in a way that allows contextualization by others.
- Dependability: All processes and findings need to be examined by a peer reviewer or auditor.
- Confirmability: All records and documents used during research need to be preserved – including any interviews.
All records need to be accurate. Qualitative researchers should keep thorough, accurate records to help maintain credibility and integrity. One of the best ways to do this is to create written transcriptions that are easy to search and use into the future.
Why transcribe your qualitative research interviews?
Research is difficult to do – but if it isn’t accurate, documented, and preserved for criticism and future use, it is useless. When your research uses interviews, they need to be maintained. That is why recording your interviews can help you on multiple levels. Why should you transcribe your qualitative research?
1. Get a written record of your research
When you have a written record of research, you have more options to analyze, store, and share your data. Sometimes, we get more out of reading the particular words someone says than we do just hearing them. From a research perspective, storing text uses less memory than audio, and it is easier to disseminate and send to people. If you need to share information with participants, researchers, and auditors, there is no easier option.
Written transcripts also tend to be more accessible – people can use search functionality, highlight sections, and translate the documents. You never know who will need to read your research, so it is best to be prepared ahead of time.
2. Save time with transcriptions
Research is a time-consuming process that can be stressful, complex, and even confusing. To relieve some of those symptoms, you should find all the ways to save time that you can. Having a digital, typed, searchable transcription of your interview will help you immensely. You won’t have to skip around the audio track, create snippets, listen to minutes’ of audio to find meaning. Instead, you can easily search for specific terms, times, or quotes.
When you record an interview, you also don’t have to worry about taking notes. You can be focused on your interview subject, which will allow them to feel more at ease. You will get better results and deeper insights when you don’t have to look at your laptop or a piece of paper.
3. Keep your research accurate
When you make a transcript, you are able to focus on the facts. You don’t have to worry about what you wrote down or worry if you are misremembering something. You will be able to perfectly recall all aspects of the interview. This will help you to stay accurate and adhere to standard qualitative research protocols.
Even better, you will be able to cut-and-paste quotes for accuracy, prove your point more concisely, and provide context for your findings.
You can even mark up a copy of the transcript with your own thoughts, conclusions, and highlight gaps in your research!
Spend your time on researching – not transcribing! ⏱
How to transcribe your interview
Instead of spending your precious time listening to recordings, searching for specific clips, and fiddling with audio – do more research or take a break. When you transcribe your interview, you get back critical hours of time. Choose a transcription service that will help you to accurately transcribe your research interviews. There are many companies out there, so you want to look for one that has a good reputation, has additional features that you can use, and offers optimized accuracy.
Top-rated transcription services for research interviews
When you choose a transcription service to use for any of your interviews – research based or not – it should be one that doesn’t add any complexity to the research process. Look for a transcription service that makes everything easier.
No two transcription services are the same, but they all work in a similar manner. You will have to take audio and submit it. Then, the software or transcriptionist will transcribe your file. From there, you will receive the transcription in an email. It is all fairly simple and only takes a few seconds of your time.
Want to transcribe your research interviews quickly?
If you are ready to get started, save time, increase accuracy, and make your life easier – you need to start transcribing your interviews. You can start with an automated transcription service like Sonix. This will make your research more accessible, help to prove your findings, and ensure your focus is solely on your research.