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2. Handling qualitative research data

Handling qualitative research data

  1. Researchers can either take notes during their interviews (transcribing) or observations, or take a recording
  2. Using a tape recorder:
  3. The benefits tape recording include:
    1. The researcher can concentrate and listen and respond better
    2. The discussion flows better when there are no distractions
    3. In note taking there is an increased risk of the researcher being more subjective
    4. The entire interview/observation is recorded, which gives a better, more holistic picture of what is going on
    5. The participants may feel less observed if the tape recorded is used in a a discreet way
    6. During analysis, the researcher has the opportunity to go back over material
  4. Transcribing:
    1. Transcribing the interview involves taking notes of the is the full 'script' of the interview and the aim is to take a full written version of the interview
    2. Transcribing an interview is very time consuming, with an estimated time ratio of 5:1 (i.e. 5 hours of transcribing a one hour interview)
  5. Tape analysis can be used, which is a combination on the two and involves the researcher taking notes from the recording
  6. Bias must be considered when taking notes or using tape analysis
  7. Good quality transcribing relies on skills beyond just taking notes and there is often space for subjectivity