Transcription Services for Research Work

Universities throughout the UK conduct academic research on a continual basis. The research is important for students, transcription services for academic researchprofessors and researchers in the global academic community. It is normally very long and complicated work involving qualitative and quantitative research.

Qualitative or quantitative — which method is for you?

Traditionally, research for academic or marketing purposes falls into two main methodological  groups: qualitative and quantitative.

Quantitative research 

It’s typical to star quantitative research to get an overall impression of your target group. As the word “quantitative” sounds, this type of research is carried out across a large group of people to get a large quantity of responses. It is used to get the major consensus of how a group of people are thinking or behaving. The statistical analysis of the results will then paint a picture of the landscape surrounding the questions.

As an example, if you were looking for feedback pertaining to a change in the law or a change of price for one of your products or services you could use quantitative research to determine whether the sentiment is good or bad for the case you are putting forward. Once you have an indication you may then decide to use qualitative research to drill down a bit further into your test group to understand more about their answers.

Qualitative research

This is an in-depth exploration of what people think, feel or do and, crucially, why. If you want to know why your customers behave as they do and what barriers there may be to their changing that behaviour you would use qualitative research to explore those issues. However, qualitative research does not give statistically robust findings. It is much more in-depth that quantitative and gets into more detail about how the person thinks, feels or what they do and more importantly why.

It also allows you to question people from different angles to ascertain whether your initial findings are correct and if under the microscope your proposal or theory holds water.

As an example, you may discover the pricing of your products and services isn’t appreciated by your customers, but you don’t know why. It may not be as simple as they don’t like the price so change it, but until you can ask those penetrating questions you won’t know what the true underlying issue is and more often than not it won’t be just a case of you change the price everything is OK, because that may not be at the heart of the matter.

How does qualitative research work?

Qualitative research typically involves focus groups and 1 to 1 interviews. There are a lot of rules involved to conducting research like this to be sure you don’t affect the answers candidates give by using leading questions. It’s also important to set the interview up correctly, keep the candidate at ease and extract data without tainting it with personal viewpoints. However, that is another article and we are not covering that here.

Focus groups, otherwise known as group discussions, are normally set in an informal environment involving 3-10 participants. The structure of the questions are very open to allow people to open up naturally and divulge information. The moderator guides the conversation to keep it on topic, but otherwise the goal is to allow the participants to express their true underlying views and opinions, learn what their behavioural triggers are and what motivates them. At this point you can test almost anything to evaluate and learn from their feedback and reactions.  With focus groups especially, there can be a benefit in learning how participants interact with each other as well.

1 to 1 interviews are much more in-depth again and due to the private and intimate nature of interviews the participant will often open up a lot more than if they were part of a group. They are very useful if the people involved are competitors or enemies who would not normally want to discuss openly in front of each other.

Quotes taken from this research are then used to support the reports and proposals.

How does quantitative research work?

Quantitative research uses more closed questions and rather than it being face to face or over the telephone, quantitative research usually is conducted over the internet or via questionnaires, ie the respondents choose their answers from a list of possible responses.

There are many different types of questions, but here are a few examples from SurveyMonkey-

Multiple Choice Questions

This question type allows the survey taker to select one or more options from a list of answers that you define. You should use multiple choice questions when you have a fixed number of options.

Rating Scales

With rating scale questions, the survey taker selects a single rating for your question along an equally spaced continuum of possible choices. Customer satisfaction survey question often use a Likert scale to measure customer opinion or attitudes.

Comment/Essay Box Question

Open-ended survey questions require respondents to type their answer into a comment box, and do not provide specific pre-set answer options. Responses are then viewed individually or by sophisticated text analysis tools, such as SurveyMonkey’s Open Ended Question Analysis tool.

Demographic Questions

To gather information about a respondent’s background or income level, for example, demographic survey questions would serve you well.

It’s all about the numbers with this type of research. You really need to be receiving more than 30-40 responses to get any meaningful or accurate data to analyse. The data is usually presented in tables and graphs to support the research and proposed arguments.

Do you need transcription services to transcribe the audio?

Qualitative and quantitative research can take weeks or even months to collate and then it has to be presented in a medium that allows for the data to be extracted and analysed.

The best way to get at the data is to have it transcribed by a professional transcription services company. With the audio recordings in text format it is easier to find the data that you need quickly and easily to work with it and use it as required.

Why online transcription services like ours? It saves a lot of time and the accuracy of your transcripts is guaranteed.  This is even more important if you have difficult to understand accents that your researchers may not understand or if your researchers aren’t familiar with colloquialisms or references to local place names, culture, etc.

The average length of time to transcribe an hour long recording is anything from 3-5 hours. If you have ten hours of recordings, that means 30-50 hours straight of typing. An entire week! And that’s only if you are a fast, professional typist, otherwise it could be two or three times as long as that and at the end of it you will still have to proof read it all to make sure there are no mistakes.

Any academics’ time is more important than to be sitting transcribing hours and hours of audio interviews and focus groups. Your time should be spent in working with the data, more research and other important and urgent work. Leave the transcribing to us and relax with your work while we type up your research and send it to you in electronic document format.

We can work with almost all audio files and convert them into most of the popular digital formats. Here is a list of the work we can get involved with and the list of a few of the formats we can work with. If you don’t see what you need here, please contact us for more information-

Transcription services provided

  • Thesis/Dissertation
  • Technical material
  • Seminars and conferences
  • Research interviews
  • Research
  • Orations
  • Oral history
  • Committee meetings
  • Classroom lectures (for various subjects)
  • One-to-one interviews
  • Academic Interviews

Our transcription services are her to help you whether your research is argumentative or analytical in nature. We can help your students and researchers to analyze their research data effectively, efficiently and with confidence. Please contact us for more information.

How to Properly Prepare for an Interview

As one of the leading transcription services in the UK, over 90% of our work is with universities and research institutes. Therefore, we thought an article on how to properly prepare for an interview would be useful for students and researchers planning on carrying out qualitative research interviews.

It takes a skill that is equal to an art form to properly conduct interviews. The interview skills of the researcher will have a direct effect on the outcome of the findings of the research. These skills will affect the accuracy and quality of the findings, as well as

their later design. Skilled interviewers will be able to unmask the elements of the participants’ perspectives on the subject they are researching. They will be able to draw out the points that are at the upmost of importance to the project at hand.

There is a great deal of literature available in regards to what are the best ways to conduct research interviews. A great example comes from the writers Hackos and Redish, who give an entire chapter to creating interview questions without bias in their book, User and Task Analysis for Interface Design. In the book they tell researchers to not formulate questions that lead the participant to an answer, to stay away from very intricate, long questions and to focus the questions on the participants own experiences.

Interview scripts should always be well prepared before the interview session ever begins. Scripts should be revised if they are bringing out biased and unusable information. A vital function of research questions are to draw out probing information about the participant and then the follow up questions that come at the end. These questions will stress the researcher’s ability to think on their feet, so that they can get the most out of their sessions with participants. This is the most dangerous part of an interview, where personal bias has the best chance to work its way in.

A successful interview is also going to include not only questions but some guidelines for researchers to follow as they interact with participants. Researchers need to recognize what their body language is saying to the participant and be able to correct it. They need to know how to self censor including how to achieve a harmonious balance between asking questions, and actively listening to the participant. As researchers gain experience they may become too comfortable with their current pattern, to the point that they get complacent with the process. Researchers constantly need to stay on top of the latest methods and techniques. Here are seven practices on how to properly conduct a research interview:

Keep Your Expectation Properly Set
Most participants in interviews have little or no experience. The person who signed them up for the interview might have given them a short speech on what the reason behind the interview is, but most will come to the interview without a clear understanding of what they are there for. They can be nervous and skeptical of what the interviewer plans to do. This can lead to them holding back and will have an effect on their answers to the interviewer’s questions. To lower the occurrence of these issues researchers need to let the participant know exactly why they are being interviewed and how the interview will be done. Researchers should be sure to include what the purpose of their note taking is, plus how the results will be put together and used.

Stop and Actively Listen
A researcher can easily get sucked up into the script of an interview, their questions, and what is going on inside their own heads. It is not hard for them to take over the conversation and speed the participant though the interview process too fast for them to keep up. Participants need time to feel relaxed and let their answer slowly formulate in their heads. Often if given enough time to think about the question, they will give answers they themselves did not know were inside them. To actively listen the researchers needs to do away with interruptions and distractions while the participant is given ample time to formulate their answers.

Watch for Non-Verbal Prompts
While a participant is in an interview they will be producing more than just verbal responses. Their body language and voice inflection also reveals a good amount of information about the participants level of comfort with the process of the interview, their attitudes, and opinions. If the researcher is too involved in their script for the interview, and their notes, they will miss many of these non-verbal prompts. It is part of a researchers job to identify these prompts, including not only body movement but also emotional reverberation and facial expressions. If they are able to they can adjust their interview process accordingly.

Remove Your Preconceptions
As humans we are wired to have preconceived perceptions of the world around us. The preconceptions researchers have formed throughout their life’s experiences can easily bleed into, not only their interview questions, but how they interpret the participants’ responses. The previous respondent’s answers can also influence a researcher’s conclusions on the current participant’s answers. Since it is part of all of us, it can be hard for researchers to completely let go of all of their preconceptions, but it is vital that they minimize them as much as possible. If the researcher does not leave themselves open mentally than it can have a serious effect on the results of the research and make it worthless.

Remember to Have an Amicable Approach
While a script for an interview can be very helpful to assist a researcher in remembering all the key questions and points that need to be brought up, if not executed properly, it can make the researcher come off as a cold question asking machine. Researchers should avoid just reading directly from their script because it puts a wedge between them and their participant. It will leave a cold, formal, and unengaging conversation in its aftermath. This method of interviewing will cause participants to give the shortest, fastest answer possible so they are able to move on and get it over with. If a researcher can develop an amicable approach to their interview process and participant, their results will be much greater. They will find that they will bring out answers that are made with thought and consideration when they engage in a more relaxed, open dialogue with the participant. This includes appropriate eye contact, the use of the participants name, and a casual tone to the conversation that really takes the responses into consideration.

The Post-interview Process – Validating the Analyzed Data

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