AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

TAG | transcription

Hi y’all, we are Anne Rudnicki, Bruce Niebuhr, Mary Jo Urbani and Virginia Niebuhr from the pedi.edtech faculty development project at the University of Texas Medical Branch. For our evaluation, we needed to transcribe faculty interviews. Transcription is time-consuming; and paying transcriptionists and/or purchasing voice recognition software can be expensive.

We found that Google Voice Typing makes excellent quality transcriptions, for free. You need a Google account, computer, external microphone, and an external audio recorder.  The interview is transcribed in real time and the text automatically saved into a Google Doc by the time you finish the interview.

These instructions are for Windows computers. Mac instructions will vary.

Requirements:

  • Chrome browser
  • Google account. If none, create an account
  • Quality external microphone (not the built-in)
  • Separate digital audio recorder or smart phone for back-up
  • Quiet room

Instructions:

  1. Plug mic into PC. On the task bar at the lower right on your monitor, right click the speaker icon.  Click “Recording Devices.” Select your microphone.
  2. Using Chrome browser, go to www.google.com
  3. Click the Google Apps icon.
  4. Open Google Drive app. You may be asked to log into your Google account.
  5. Click NEW
  6. Choose Google Docs; open a Blank document.
  7. Open Tools
  8. Select Voice Typing

    (click for larger image)

  9. Choose Click to Speak
  10. Begin interview (make sure the person being interviewed speaks into the microphone).
  11. Click the red recording icon to stop
  12. The file is immediately and automatically saved in Google Docs.
  13. To move the transcription out of the cloud, go to File menu, “Download as,” choose the Word option. The transcription will be saved as “untitled” Word document in the Downloads folder of your PC. Rename the file and save elsewhere.

Lessons Learned:

  • Practice the above steps several times to become confident.
  • Because Google Voice Typing works over the Internet, there can be dropouts in the transcripts. Use the digital voice recording as a backup. Listen to this recording to fill in gaps and correct transcription errors.
  • We recommend using the Google Doc merely for temporary storage. After downloading the file, delete the files from the cloud. This adds to the security and privacy of your data.
  • This does not work well for focus groups – too many voices at one time.

 Rad Resource:

Linda Cabral and Laura Sefton describe how to use Dragon voice recognition software, a good tool but not free.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Greetings! I am Linda Cabral from the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Health Policy and Research. A big part of my job uses qualitative methods to evaluate different health and human services programs. Our data collection processes can include utilizing one-on-one or group interviews and as well as focus groups. With this type of narrative (i.e., first person data collection), decisions must be made up front as to the ultimate format of your data set. One of the decisions is whether or not to audio record these data collection events and another is whether these audio files will be transcribed. Transcribing data can be a tedious process requiring several hours for each recorded interview. A general rule is that the text of a 30-40 minute interview takes about 1-2 hours to type and results in about 15-20 pages of text. Recently, we have been faced with a myriad of projects requiring decisions on how formal our transcription process should be. Let me offer you some of our thinking and lessons learned!

Lessons Learned:

  • Decisions are needed as to the level of detail needed from each qualitative data collection event, which can range from a verbatim transcript to a less formal write-up of notes. While transcribing your own data can have significant analytic benefits (getting close and personal with the material), it may not be practical for everyone – particularly if you’re time-strapped.
  • Transcription of interviews allows for each evaluation team member to go through the transcript carefully, providing an easily readable document from the study. Having a transcript can facilitate working together in a team where the tasks have to be shared. Agreement about data interpretation is key.
  • When considering outsourcing transcription:
    • Realize that a fully transcribed interview will result in pages and pages of data to sift through. There will be a lot of “noise” in there that could potentially be eliminated if the transcription was done in-house by evaluators familiar with the project’s evaluation aims.
    • You have choices as to the type of transcript that would be most helpful to you, including: word-by-word verbatim; clean verbatim (removing ‘hmm’ and ‘you know’); or one with improved grammar and readability.
    • You have options ranging from independent contractors to large firms that specialize in transcription services. Transcribers can be paid by the word, the hour, or the length of time of the recording.

Hot Tips:

  • Always have your evaluation aims drive your decision about whether to transcribe or not.
  • Plan ahead for how notes, audio recordings, and transcripts will be stored and how personal identifiers will be used in order to main data integrity.
  • Budget the necessary time and resources up front whatever your decision is!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Hello, we are Linda Cabral and Laura Sefton from the Center for Health Policy and Research at UMass Medical School. We often collect qualitative data from interviews and focus groups. One challenge we frequently face is how to quickly and efficiently transcribe audio data. We have experimented using voice recognition software (VRS), and we’d like to share our approach.

You will need headphones, a microphone (stand-alone or attached to a headset), and a computer with audio playback and VRS installed on it. We use Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium Version 11.5 voice recognition software, however other VRS is available. Use of audio playback software will allow you to control the playback speed, so you can slow it down, pause, fast forward, and rewind as needed.

Open the audio file in the playback software and open a new document in the VRS. While listening to the audio via the headphones, repeat what you hear into the microphone. During this step, you can format the document to indicate who is speaking and to add punctuation. Because VRS works best when trained to understand a single voice, a designated team member should repeat all spoken content, regardless of how many voices are in the audio file.

This process will generate a document in the VRS that can be saved to your computer as a Word file. As a final review, read through the Word file while listening to the audio file and make needed corrections. This could be done by another member of the project team as a double check of the document’s accuracy.

Hot Tips:

  • Spend time training the VRS to recognize your voice. A few practice sessions with the software may be needed where you can read dummy data into the software in order for it to learn your voice. This will improve the transcription quality, minimizing the time spent editing.
  • Train the VRS to recognize project-specific acronyms or terminology prior to starting transcription.

Lessons Learned:

  • Often, financial resources for evaluation projects are limited. In an effort to keep the transcription process in-house, our administrative staff transcribed the audio files. By using the VRS and someone from our project team familiar with the data as the designated recorder, we have found savings in time and efficiencies.
  • No transcription yet has captured 100% content accurately the first time. Therefore, build in time to listen to the recording and to make manual edits.

Rad Resources:

These resources may be helpful as you explore whether VRS is right for you.

  • VRS products Review by consumersearch: “In reviews, it’s generally Dragon vs. Dragon”

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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