BH TIG Week: For the Record by Elizabeth Oyer

Elizabeth Oyer

Hello! I am Elizabeth Oyer, President of EvalSolutions, Inc. where I provide program evaluation and business consulting services. Like many evaluators, my program evaluation designs are often mixed methods with at least one focus group or interview to complement quantitative data.

Through the years, I have used a variety of strategies to prepare the hours of recorded data for my analyses. My work is generally the classic identification of themes based on clean transcripts. Twenty years ago, as a young evaluator (ha!), that meant hours listening and re-listening to recordings. How excited I was when I graduated to the PanasonicTM Cassette Transcriber!

Rad Resources

GMR Transcription: Over time, technology provided new solutions. Web-based transcription services became a line item on my evaluation budgets. For example, I used GMR Transcription for many years. The quality of the transcription was good, it was cheaper and faster than paying for individual services, and it was easy to upload my digitally-recorded interviews via the web.

Sonix: For the past two years, my face-to-face interviews morphed into virtual interviews as the standard approach. This year, I had many hours of focus groups recorded in my Google Meetings and wanted an easier way to get the transcription from the recordings. In my research, I came across automated transcription services that work well with recorded videos. I ended up using a service called Sonix for the price of $10 per 1 hour of meeting, regardless of number of speakers. The transcription was nearly instant for my files, and the quality was surprising given the price point. Combined with my field notes, I was able to review and correct the errors quickly. For the price and speed, it made me a believer!

While I haven’t used their services, my research also turned up two other similarly priced resources that I intend to give a try: Deepgram and happyscribe.

Lessons Learned

I definitely have to spend time cleaning up the transcripts before importing them into my qualitative analysis software, MaxQDA. The cost and time savings this has provided me are notable. I hope you find them useful to add to your toolbox as well!

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Behavioral Health (BH) TIG Week with our colleagues in Behavioral Health Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our BH TIG members. 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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