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10 Ways Transcription Services Can Improve Your Qualitative Research

10 Ways Transcription Services Can Improve Your Qualitative Research

By: sageknox

26 Aug 2017

Due to budgetary restraints in both educational institutions and on the part of individuals, transcribing audio and video materials that would otherwise benefit the research process are given a backseat or offloaded to inexperienced interns or low-quality outsourcing firms. But the value to researchers of easily accessible, highly accurate transcriptions of recorded materials like lectures, interviews, and media content isn’t in doubt. Having accurate and searchable text formats of these materials not only speeds up your research process, it has other benefits you may not realize.


For those working in medical or legal areas, compliance with document format standards and transmission of sensitive data should be at the forefront of your research endeavors. Because data leaks, hacks, and accidental disclosures continue to be a point of emphasis for academic, legal, and medical institutions, the importance of ensuring your work is compliant with industry standards cannot be overstated. Even if you’re working in academia and don’t yet have experience in the professional world, staying compliant with these standards is crucial to your future success and a positive professional habit to start building now. With a HIPPA-certified transcription service that adheres with confidentiality agreements, you can rest easy knowing your materials are safe and secure.

Improve Your Interview Questions

For those conducting one-on-one research interviews, you have a lot to handle when the time comes to sit down with your subjects. Aside from actually performing the interview, you need to ensure your recording device (and its backup) are operating correctly, that you’re moving naturally between your questions, and taking notes. Knowing that a transcription of your interview will be available to you shortly thereafter, you can instead shift your focus entirely to your subject, asking any relevant follow-up questions and engaging in any discussions that may further flesh out your research.

Primary and Secondary Research

Because academic research is commonly divided between two types (primary and secondary), it’s important to focus on primary sources first before using your secondary information to better support your argument or further flesh out your research with relevant context. However, as any researcher can attest, seeing the beyond the forest to the trees can be difficult - especially when filtering through so many types of material. Having text-based formats of all your materials can help you better identify and prioritize these research sources to improve your final product and achieve greater results.

Ideal for Team Projects

Working on group projects is difficult enough without having to expose your entire team to a lengthy audio or video file to ensure every stays on the same page. While designating a member as the primary transcriptionist may be a solution, there’s a better chance their skills would be more beneficial elsewhere. By maintaining a reliable partner to handle all of your A/V material transcriptions won’t just take a load off your team, it’ll help you organize and streamline your communications by providing a succinct, legible transcription of what was said during an interview, lecture, or group discussion.

Time Saving

Interview transcriptions are notoriously time-consuming, forcing you to spend hours parsing through each recording, rewinding often and typing as fast as possible. Because the average person speaks at about 160 words per minute and types around 40 words per minute, the time spent going through each transcription project can be painstaking and costly. Professional transcriptionists, however, have specialized training and equipment, allowing them to crank out accurate, reliable transcriptions of recorded materials at a much faster and economically-viable rate.

Choice Between Verbatim and Non-Verbatim

Depending on the nature of your research, it may be crucial for your chosen transcriptionist to include various turns of phrase, mumbles, grammatical errors, and pauses in the conversation, interview, or lecture. When seeking out a source to handle your transcription services, look carefully at their offerings. A verbatim transcription of a recording will include the aforementioned tics and details that may prove crucial to your findings, whereas a non-verbatim transcription that corrects those issues and eliminates background details may be more beneficial to your needs.

Text Formats from Various Sources

No matter where you’re sourcing your research materials, having a transcription service that can handle a wide array of formats is crucial to the speedy success of your project. From one-on-one interviews, lectures, group discussions, press conferences, research-based interviews, online chat discussions, and telephone calls, a proven transcriptionist is one that won’t limit their services to only a few formats or sources. And having that material in an easily-searchable text format is a major boon to your project and its timely completion.

Collect Large Field Samples

Especially important if you’re conducting research across a wide swath of a population or segment (such as in political research), having a transcription provider who can handle a very large amount of material is crucial to meeting your deadline. Nothing will bog down the progress of your research project like a large influx of information that hasn’t been properly converted to your ideal format. By transcribing valuable content such as polling data, questionnaires, and telephone-based data collection, you’ll be able to quickly quantify that information via an easily-digestible text format and quickly present your findings.

Expert Transcriptions

Transcriptions of audio or video content can certainly be performed by a layman, but as with any amateur effort, the results will be mixed. While the costs of transcribing recorded material may be lower, the time it takes to get it back to you and your team as well as the accuracy of the final product may not be to your satisfaction. By employing the services of a professional transcription company, you’ll get fast, accurate transcriptions of your recorded research materials with total confidence that your sensitive information will be handled with discretion and professionalism.

Fast Turnaround

Depending on the deadline of your project, you may require expedited transcription services for new or last-minute materials. Some transcription services allow for time-sensitive projects; others have a flat-rate for all projects. When you need something back to you promptly, having a partner to quickly process and return your transcriptions is crucial to making your deadline. For non-sensitive materials that have some legroom, knowing exactly when to expect your transcriptions can help you better plan and organize your efforts going forward.

For more information about professional transcription services for quantitative research projects, contact Transcription Hub for more information. Our transcriptionists are fast, professional, and discreet and our services begin at $0.75 per minute with expedited options available for those last-minute requests.