Beyond Transcription: Technology, Change, and Refinement of Method

D. Thomas Markle, Richard Edward West, Peter J. Rich


Qualitative researchers have evolved their methods continually, often due to technological breakthroughs that have enabled them to collect, analyze or present data in novel ways or to obtain a stronger authenticity or reflection of participant perspectives. In examining historical situations that have led to methodological shifts, we assert that the qualitative research community is currently on the precipice of another such change, specifically in the transcription of audio and visual data. We advocate for the benefits afforded by emerging technologies to collect, analyze, and embed in research reports actual multimedia data, thus avoiding the loss of meaning and unavoidable interpretation bias inherent in transcription. Working with data in its original multimedia (audio or video) state, instead of a transcription, can allow for greater trustworthiness and accuracy, as well as thicker descriptions and more informative reporting. We discuss the challenges still present with this approach, along with suggestions for improving future methodologies.



transcription; data analysis; multimedia; video analysis; methodologies; audio analysis; data reporting; authenticity

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Copyright (c) 2011 D. Thomas Markle, Richard Edward West, Peter J. Rich

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