In this paper, I propose redefining transcription as a significant process within qualitative research, and as more deserving of attention and of transparency in reporting. Although interviewing has become one of the most frequently used methods of qualitative data collection, when summarizing the methodology adopted in their studies, researchers are still not likely to describe either the transcription process itself or the decision-making process that led up to it. One of the problems with transcription is that it is frequently addressed separately from the broader philosophical, ideological or epistemological contexts of a study, and dealt with as a minor independent logistics issue, and its resolution reduced to its mechanics or its physical completion. In this article, I highlight the significance of decisions made about transcription as illustrated by an account of two contrasting experiences. I explore the choices made related to who undertakes the process and how it is completed as based on theoretical underpinnings. These decisions, as illustrated in the examples, reflect views on what is to be known and what is considered to be the data, and will, ultimately, determine the limitations or the possibilities for analysis and interpretation.
Transcription Significance, Transcription Quality, Transcription Decisions, Transcribing Challenges, Transcribing as Analysis, Qualitative Interview, Qualitative Data, Data Quality, Qualitative Methodology
I would like to acknowledge the participants, my conversation partners, who so generously shared their life experiences with me.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
Recommended APA Citation
Cibils, L. (2019). The Underreported Significance of Transcription Decisions: Perspectives Gained from Two Different Vantage Points. The Qualitative Report, 24(5), 1133-1146. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3801