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Qual Health Res. 2004 Jan;14(1):113-23.

Improving accuracy of transcripts in qualitative research.

Author information

Community Health Research Unit, University of Ottawa, Canada.


Everyone who has worked with qualitative interview data has run into problems with transcription error, even if they do the transcribing themselves. A thoughtful, accurate, reliable, multilingual transcriptionist with a quick turnaround time is worth her or his weight in gold. In this article, the authors examine some transcription circumstances that seem to bring about their own consistent set of problems. Based on their experiences, the authors examine the following issues: use of voice recognition systems; notation choices; processing and active listening versus touch typing; transcriptionist effect; emotionally loaded audiotaped material; class and/or cultural differences among interviewee, interviewer, and transcriptionist; and some errors that arise when working in a second language. The authors offer suggestions for working with transcriptionists as part of the qualitative research team.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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