Using technology to support social sciences research

This is a ‘share the technology‘ post as I have stumbled upon a very quick method to transcribe interviews. As a small deviation form my original paper, I did a bit of  a presentation on this at the ALT-12 conference. It generated a good deal of interest.

Technology you need:

The process:

I recorded participant interviews using the Livescribe pen. This allowed me to both annotate and audio record. These recording are then saved as searchable PDF documents when loaded onto computer.

So the technology already imports my handwritten text into Word (with quite impressive results).

Next I plugged in the pen to ear phones and replayed the interview. Synchronously I spoke what I heard into Dragon Naturally Speaking (voice to text software) which types what you speak into Word – with excellent results. Because the audio recording is linked to written annotations on the digital player if I missed a bit, or misheard, I could easily replay it by tapping the pen on the relevant part of the page. The page also has control option (that you tap with the pen) to speed up, slow down or jump through the audio recording.

So that was that. I transcribed a 40 minute interview in about 50 minutes.

If anyone’s interested in the research,  Online reading practices and decision making processes in expert (PhD student) readers you can read a bit about it here.  The ALT12 presentation, Does technology enhance research processes in online reading and decision making practices? is here.


One thought on “Using technology to support social sciences research

  1. Have I got this right – in a way, Dragon is transcribing you, not your interviewee – your ‘respeaking’ of the interview?
    There are different types of transcript – some more concerned with content, some with (content and) form, including aspects of delivery like pausing. Your method is best for the first type of transcript, I am thinking, including those from the ‘online reader’ research
    (I will now go away and read the ALT 12 presentation which will undoubtedly answer my question anyway!).

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