“Challenging” Research Practices: Turning a Critical Lens on the Work of Transcription
AbstractThis article interrogates transcription work in the context of qualitative research. Although it is common practice in academe for someone other than the researcher to transcribe tapes recorded for purposes of data collection, the author argues the importance of researchers taking seriously the ways in which the person transcribing tapes influences research data. She suggests that the transcriber's interpretive/analytical/theoretical lens shapes the final texts constructed and as a result has the potential to influence the researcher's analysis of data. Specifically, the article explores the experiences of Ken, a person hired to transcribe audiotapes of focus group interviews conducted for a larger research study. The numerous challenges Ken faced during the work are addressed. His use of voice recognition software to simplify the task is discussed as well as the educational potential transcription work holds for graduate students.