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Transcribing Interviews and Focus Groups

Transcription is often given little thought at the research planning stage. Researchers may consider the design of their interviews and focus groups carefully (conducting pilot studies, for instance), but only learn about the pitfalls of transcription once they come to do it after the data have been recorded.

Transcribing Interviews and Focus Groups

Transcription is often given little thought at the research planning stage. Researchers may consider the design of their interviews and focus groups carefully (conducting pilot studies, for instance), but only learn about the pitfalls of transcription once they come to do it after the data have been recorded.

This means mistakes are repeated down the generations of scholars, and that new researchers have to figure out an appropriate strategy on their own, by trial and error. Where problems arise at the transcription stage, it can be too late to go back and collect new research data to address issues or gaps.

This training session, led by Professor Jo Drugan (University of East Anglia), Dr Liz McDonnell (University of Sussex) and Dr Matthew Sillence (University of East Anglia) will focus directly on transcription as an important stage in understanding, and designing, research methods, as part of a supportive group led by two researchers with longstanding experience of transcription in arts and social science contexts.

Our approach is flexible to allow us to address the needs of those attending as far as possible. The event is likely to be most useful to researchers who are about to embark on data collection and analysis, in the first or second year of doctoral study. However, it will also be useful for anyone planning to conduct interviews or focus groups in future; and those who have some experience of transcription but found it challenging or frustrating.

Date: 30 November 2018, 11.00-18.00

Venue: FutureLearn, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP

Registration deadline: 31 October 2018

Further information: humgrad.enquiry@uea.ac.uk 


Workshop Schedule

11.00-12.00 - Session 1 (Prof. Jo Drugan, Dr Liz McDonnell, Dr Matthew Sillence)

Programme introductions: Outline of the day and explanation of approach; ethics and consent

Focus group recording: Participants will join one of three groups, led by Drugan, McDonnell and Sillence. Each group will discuss a non-sensitive topic of general interest for about 15 minutes. This will produce three difference recordings with a range of voices, accents, and content, for use as the data to be transcribed during the rest of the day.

12.00-13.15 - Session 2 (Dr Matthew Sillence)

Transcription techniques: levels of detail and relevance; what do you need to do with your data and what does this mean for how you approach transcription?

Transcription exercise 1: semi-structured interview

13.15-14.00 - Lunch

14.00-16.00 - Session 3 (Prof. Jo Drugan)

Transcription exercise 2: focus groups 

Dealing with the challenges of ‘group talk’; using and designing templates; conventions

16.00-16.15 - Break

16.15-17.30 - Session 4 (Dr Liz McDonnell)

Transcription and translation – distance from the original ‘voice’

Ethical considerations

Discussion and questions

17.30-18.00 - Session 5 - Concluding remarks and evaluation

18.00-20.00 - Dinner and Departure/Accommodation


Terms and conditions

By registering below you are requesting a place on this training programme or selected sessions that form part of the programme. A member of the CHASE team or the workshop leader will contact you in due course to confirm that a place has been allocated to you. If you no longer require a place, please email enquiries@chase.ac.uk as soon as possible so your name can be removed from the registration list.  

If you are allocated a place but can no longer attend, please email enquiries@chase.ac.uk so that your place can be reallocated. CHASE training is free to attend and events are often oversubscribed with a waiting list. Failure to notify us of non-attendance in good time (ideally 5 days prior to the workshop/programme) means your place cannot be reallocated and may result in your access to future CHASE training being restricted.


Registration has now closed