Transcribing and Archiving Data

In-depth interviews typically generate a large amount of complex data. In order to conduct thorough analysis, it is critical to transcribe the interviews accurately and in full, ensuring that the way in which sentences (or even words) were expressed is preserved. Incomplete words and sentences should be recorded as they were uttered. Pauses should be timed and noted in the transcript. Ideally, transcripts should also be anonymized to minimise the risk of compromising the promise of confidentiality to participants. It should be noted that not only names and places can reveal a person’s identity but also specific or unique contextual factors.

In the From Boys to Men project, all interviews were recorded using an digital audio recorder and downloaded onto security protected computers, ensuring that the recording was deleted from the recorder as soon as possible after the interview had taken place. There are various software packages, some of which are freely available, that can be used for assisting with the transcription of digital recordings. This study used NCH Software Express Scribe which is available to download free.

Once interviews have been transcribed it is important to check the transcripts for inaccuracies, especially if the recordings are to be destroyed. Anonymized data can then be archived so that other researchers can perform their own analyses, or perhaps check the veracity of claims made from the data. The dataset for the From Boys to Men project has been archived with the Economic and Social Data Services for future researchers to access.

Further advice on how to manage and archive qualitative datasets can be found through the following link, as well as details of training courses for those new to data management: