Verbatim Transcription of Research Interviews and Focus Group Discussion

According to Poland 1995, verbatim transcription refers to the replication of the exact words that are captured in an audio or video record. This is the reproduction of word to word audio data into written form. Thus, the verbatim contents retain the original meaning of the recorded interviews or focus group discussion. The materials generated seek also to provide the context in which the words were spoken. The decision to make use of the verbatim transcription depends on the reasons for carrying out the research and collecting the qualitative data. When doing the verbatim interview transcription one needs to pay attention to the research methodology design and the theoretical frame work of the research. This is a reliable mode of transcription as it does not give room to interpretation of the spoken word. It also gives details of non verbal cues used during the interview. In order to give a word to word transcription of the recorded work, here are few things to pay attention to.

Involuntary Vocalizations

When carrying out the verbatim transcription of research interview or focus group discussion it is vital to pay attention to involuntary vocalizations. These are sounds might have meaning or not to the one analyzing the data hence they need to be captured. These sounds include sneezing, coughing, yawning, laughing or crying among others. In addition, there are other noises that come from the background such as dog barking, siren and ringing phone are also vital.

Response token

Response tokens are commonly known as probes and prompts. These are sounds that are used by the researcher to prompt the interviewee to continue with the sharing or to say more. They are also used to show empathy when researching on delicate issues that affect the interviewee emotionally. They include hm, yeah, uh, mmh and ok among others. It is important to include them in the transcription as it reveals the nature of conversation during the interview or discussion.

Non-verbal cues

During the interview and focus group discussion a lot of non verbal cues are used. This form of communication talks more than the verbal words and hence they need to be captured for analysis. This is more practical when verbatim transcription of the video as they are revealed through the movement of the hands and facial expressions. In most cases these non-verbal cues have feelings attached to it that are important in analysis of the data collected.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

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