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Need to audio record interviews (and then verbatim transcribe)

(13 Posts)
cardamomginger Sun 21-Apr-13 12:53:47

I'm doing a PhD and will be conducting in-depth interviews. I need to audio record these and then transcribe them verbatim.

Any ideas on what's a good gadget to use? Doesn't have to be something that produces an amazingly balanced recording, but people are prone to mumbling and background noise can interfere, so needs to be decent quality. It's also important that it is easy to transcribe from - i.e. non-irritating playback, pause, re-wind, etc. Can you record audio on an Ipad? (Not that I have an Ipad, but it might be a good excuse to get one??)

Would be so grateful for any thoughts and advice!

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 21-Apr-13 16:56:38

You're probably best off with a dedicated dictaphone device. What sort of budget do you have?

aliciaflorrick Sun 21-Apr-13 17:07:41

As a transcriber who has typed up thousands of these kind of interviews over the years, I would say a designated digital recording device is best, but I have typed up interviews taken from iPhones that have been a very clear recording. Ask your question and then give the respondent time to answer fully. I've found inexperienced interviewers often speak over the respondent, particularly if they become engrossed in the conversation. Try and put the recording device closer to the respondent, their responses are more important than your questions. Try not to shuffle papers when speaking even they can drown out responses, and unfortunately some people do mumble and you will get the odd unclear word, it's just the way it goes, but if you manage to get a good quality recording with little background noise a good transcriber can hopefully keep those to a minimum.

cardamomginger Sun 21-Apr-13 17:32:07

Thanks. Not sure of budget TBH - depends more on how much something decent costs, if you see what I mean. Will the digital devices enable me to save the recording in some form or another? (Last time I did this I used a walkman and tapes - so I'm really out of the loop with this!).

BIWI Sun 21-Apr-13 17:35:38

Do you have an iPhone? There's an app on there called iTalk which is good. (Just make sure if you're using it that you have your charger with you, as it eats up the battery)

cardamomginger Sun 21-Apr-13 17:37:23

Nope. I have a stone-age mobile phone. All I do is make calls and text. I'm really lost when it comes to all this tech stuff....

BIWI Sun 21-Apr-13 17:38:03

Have a look here Olympus recorders, IMO, are very good

And there's a range of prices here, so doesn't have to be hugely expensive.

javabean Sun 21-Apr-13 17:47:06

IME, the recording device doesn't matter as much as the environment you record in. Do you have any choice over where you do the recordings?

cardamomginger Sun 21-Apr-13 18:30:29

Thank you BIWI - that's really helpful.
Not really, javabean - interviews will be in people's own homes. It will vary considerably in terms of disruptions and interruptions, background noise, children, etc, etc....

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 21-Apr-13 18:35:58

Maybe worth getting a decent external microphone too then, and obviously make sure that the recorder you go for has a mic input.

mirry2 Sun 21-Apr-13 18:38:07

Make sure noises are screened out as much as possibe. You can't stop children crying and talking but get the TV turned off and all windows closed to prevent traffic noise being recorded. If you haven't done this before, do a few pilot interviews to check obtrusivelness of background noise.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 21-Apr-13 19:02:28

Does anyone know if it's possible to get an audio player with a foot pedal controller that connects to a PC?

javabean Mon 22-Apr-13 22:29:33

In that case, try as much as you can to pick a quiet corner of their house, and the more soft furnishings there are around the better for reducing reverb! Do a test recording at the house before you start the interview and play it back for quality before starting properly. And if there is an interruption, ask the interviewee to repeat what they were saying.

I have found that transcribers struggle most with proper nouns and technical vocab, so it might be useful to get interviewees to spell some of them out if you think they'll be difficult to transcribe. And if it's you transcribing, do it as soon as possible so you don't forget what was said.

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