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Make the most out of your interviews

Interview transcription is an important step in the data analysis journey of many research projects, but often it is a time-consuming and arduous affair. Transcribe with MAXQDA. Our product comes with many exciting features which make the transcription process faster and easier than ever before. Whether you are a first-time researcher or an old pro, MAXQDA is your professional software solution with advanced transcription tools for you and your team. With MAXQDA you are not limited to audio files – you can transcribe video files as well.



How to transcribe an interview with MAXQDA

Transcribing recordings is easy with MAXQDA, because MAXQDA provides all the standard transcription functions, such as automatic speaker exchange, autocomplete with defined shortcuts, and timestamps for synchronizing transcriptions with audio or video files. In addition, the add-on AI Assist includes MAXQDA Transcription – MAXQDA’s AI-powered transcription service that automatically transcribes your media files.

Step one: Import your interview transcription files

Whether you want to transcribe your video or audio files using MAXQDA or analyze an automatically transcribed interview with MAXQDA’s powerful tools – importing your files is easy. Simply drag the files into MAXQDA’s “Document System” window or go to the Import tab and choose the corresponding file format.

Upon import of your audio or video file, a document with the audio/video file’s name is created. When opening this file in the Document System you see a blank page: this is where you write your transcript. Alternatively, you can import transcripts that were created automatically or with specialized transcription software. These transcripts usually contain timestamps that link a text segment to its corresponding time segment in the audio file. Of course, MAXQDA can recognize these timestamps and link text and audio segments accordingly.

Interview Transcription & Analysis - Transcription

Step two: Transcribe your interview

With MAXQDA, you can either transcribe your audio files manually within MAXQDA or have them transcribed automatically with MAXQDA Transcription. For the AI-assisted automatic transcription service, all you need is the AI Assist add-on and a MAXQDA account. Simply upload your media files to your MAXQDA account and receive transcripts that are perfectly matched to MAXQDA and contain time stamps that link text sections to the corresponding sections in the audio recording.

For manually transcribing your interviews, simply open the transcription mode by selecting “Transcribe audio file” in the context menu of the document. MAXQDA includes many functions that facilitate the transcription process, such as a freely definable rewind interval, playback speed, and timestamps. If you want to re-listen to a certain passage in the audio recording, click on the timestamp to listen to the corresponding passage in the audio recording. Once everything is set up, start transcribing: press play, listen, press pause, write down, and repeat.

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Interview Transcription & Analysis - Transcription mode

Step three: Review your transcribed interview

Before analyzing your interview transcript, you might want to review it. Especially, when you transcribed non-verbal utterances, such as laughter, or nodding, make sure that you unify the written form. This will help you to understand your interview transcripts at a later point in time, and facilitates understanding the transcript for other people, such as your team member.

In addition, a clear and correct transcript allows you to use the full range of MAXQDA’s powerful tools, including the tools that enable you to explore the content and structure of your interview transcripts without needing to read or code in advance. For example, MAXQDA’s Word Frequencies tool extracts the most frequently used words in your interview transcripts – misspelled words can lead to inaccurate results.

Interview Transcription & Analysis - Review Transcript

Analyzing interview transcripts

Once you are done transcribing your interview, clicking on the audio/video file, opens the corresponding transcript in the Document Browser. With MAXQDA as your interview transcription software, you have numerous possibilities for analyzing your interview transcripts – impossible to mention all.

Create your code system

Coding qualitative data (categorizing interview) lies at the heart of many qualitative data analysis approaches. Coding refers to the process of assigning a code to a segment of your material. A code can be described as a label used to name phenomena in a text or an image. Because MAXQDA is a software designed by researchers for researchers it supports a variety of QDA approaches with specialized tools. For example, the In-vivo coding tool is especially suited for inductive coding approaches.

To create your Code System simply go to the “Codes” window and click on new code. Choose a descriptive name, select a color, and add a description that explains when to use the code. The new code will be displayed in the “Codes” window. Of course, you can change every aspect of your code at a later point in time. Via drag-and-drop, you can hierarchically organize your code system. You can also use highlighters or emoticons to code your material. With the Creative Coding tool and the Smart Coding tool, you can easily refine your code system.

Interview Transcription & Analysis - Code System
Interview Transcription & Analysis - Code Transcript

Code your interview transcript

MAXQDA offers many possibilities for coding qualitative data. Simply drag and drop codes from the code system to the highlighted text segment. If you don’t have a name for your category yet, you can use highlighters to mark important text passages. Of course with a professional interview transcription software like MAXQDA, you can code many more data types, such as audio and video files, or social media data. In addition, MAXQDA permits many further ways of coding qualitative data. For example, you can assign symbols and emojis to your data segments. To keep track of your ideas you can write Memos. By attaching memos like post-it notes to text passages, texts, document groups, images, audio/video clips and of course codes, you can easily retrieve them at a later stage.

If you have a large amount of data, the Search and Autocode tool can be especially useful. It allows you to search your entire material or a part thereof for specific terms and automatically codes the search hits.

Analyze your interview transcript with MAXQDA

With MAXQDA as your interview transcription and analysis software, you have plenty of options regarding your interview transcription analysis. The following paragraph presents just a few of the analytical possibilities of MAXQDA. To learn more about how to analyze interview transcripts with MAXQDA, we recommend reading the free literature listed below.

Interview Transcription & Analysis - Code Retrieve

Retrieve coded segments

A typical analysis step is the in-depth analysis of topics that you have coded in your interviews. An Interview Transcription & Analysis software like MAXQDA facilitates this step, as it allows you to compile all text segments coded with one (or more) codes of interest from one or more interviews. Furthermore, you can logically combine several codes to refine your search for coded segments. But the retrieved segment window has more to offer. Display variable values of the interviewees, such as age, relationship status, and more, or quickly jump to the original position of the text segment with just one click to review the coded segment in context.

Quantitative evaluation of themes

Quantitative aspects can also be relevant when conducting an interview transcription & analysis. Using MAXQDA as your Interview Transcription & Analysis software enables you to employ a vast range of procedures for the quantitative evaluation of your material. You can sort sources according to document variables, compare amounts with frequency tables and charts, and much more. Make sure that you do not miss the word frequency tools of MAXQDA’s add-on module for quantitative text analysis with which you can compare word frequencies between speakers. Furthermore, MAXQDA offers mixed methods tools that allow you to easily combine qualitative and quantitative methods to get an even deeper insight into your data. With MAXQDA Stats you can statistically compare groups of participants.

Interview Transcription & Analysis - Mixed Methods

Visualize your data

The proverb “a picture is worth a thousand words” also applies to the analysis of qualitative interviews. That’s why MAXQDA offers a variety of Visual Tools that allow you to get a quick overview of the data, and help you to identify patterns. Of course, you can export your visualizations in various formats to enrich your final report. Visualize the progression of themes in an interview with the Codeline, use the Word Cloud to explore key terms and the central themes, or make use of the graphical representation possibilities of MAXMaps, which in particular permit the creation of concept maps. Thanks to the interactive connection between your visualizations with your MAXQDA data, you will never lose sight of the big picture.

Literature on interview transcription and analysis

We offer a variety of free learning materials to help you getting started with your interview analysis. Check out our Getting Started Guide to get a quick overview about MAXQDA and to get a step-by-step instructions on setting up your software and creating your first project with your brand new QDA software.

Getting Started with MAXQDA

Getting Started with MAXQDA

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Analyzing Focus Groups with MAXQDA

Analyzing Focus Group with MAXQDA

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If you want to dive deeper, check out our free QDA-books

Focused Analysis of Qualitative Interviews with MAXQDA
Step-by-Step Guide

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The Practice of Qualitative Data Analysis
Research Examples Using MAXQDA

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  • What is an interview transcription?

    Transcription refers to the process of converting spoken language into a written form. Consequently, an interview transcription denotes the process of converting a (pre-)recorded interview (typically an audio or video file) into its written form. Several interview transcription methods exist that mainly differ in their strictness of what is transcribed from the recording. For example, while a strict verbatim transcript includes non-verbal nods like “um hmm”, an edited transcript might exclude these utterances to obtain a more readable transcript. As a result, you have (a more or less edited) transcript of your interview that you can use for further analysis, such as manually coding the transcript.

    With MAXQDA’s Transcription tool you can quickly and easily transcribe interviews, no matter their file format.

  • What are interview transcription methods?

    Interview transcription might seem straightforward, but once you get started you will recognize that people stutter, repeat words, and use non-verbal language. Consequently, interview transcription methods arised that mainly differ in their strictness of what is transcribed from the recording. To empower you in coming to an informed decision, we briefly present the most common interview transcription methods.

    1. Verbatim transcript: A strict verbatim interview transcript includes every word and sound that was recorded, including filler words, repeated words, stuttering and stammering, non-verbal nods, and if possible, non-verbal expressions of emotion, such as laughter or groaning. While verbatim transcription usually takes longer compared to other transcription methods, it can be worth the effort, as those non-word sounds can convey information about the interviewee’s state of mind. For example in the legal context, a verbatim transcript can give information about the witness’s confidence.
    2. Intelligent verbatim transcript: By contrast, the intelligent verbatim transcript is a more readable form of the verbatim transcript. The idea is to exclude distracting repetitions and filler words to obtain a more readable transcript while preserving the participant’s intended meaning. There are no strict rules about what to exclude. Things that an intelligent verbatim transcript might exclude: filler words, non-standard words (such as “dunno”), repeated words and sentences, off-topic utterances, pauses, caughing, and general noises
    3. Edited transcript: An edited transcript modifies the original recording even more than an intelligent verbatim transcript. Typically, the researcher corrects grammatical mistakes, and incomplete sentences to obtain a readable, concise, and clear transcript. But the interviewee’s voice may be changed. One area of application is business communication. Business communication tends to be formal and error-free, therefore an edited transcript might be the way to go.
    4. Phonetic transcript: A phonetic transcript includes notes on how the spoken words are pronounced using special phonetic symbols. Using phonetic transcription, you can analyze whether the pronunciation of a certain word changes (in the course of the interview/sound recording) or compare the pronunciation of certain words between dialects.
  • What is the best way to transcribe interviews?

    As there are different methods, scientific disciplines, and contexts in which interview transcription is used, it is difficult to determine “the best way”. In general, it is a good idea to carefully think about your interview transcription and subsequent analysis prior to transcribing your interviews. Are you interested in how your interviewees respond? Then including non-verbal utterances in your interview transcripts can help to identify the interviewee’s state of mind, confidence, etc. Are you more concerned with what your interviewees say? Then an edited transcript (without non-verbal utterances) that is grammatically correct and more readable might be better suited. Knowing if and which filler words, non-verbal utterances, ans so on, you want to include in your transcript allows you to transcribe systematically from the beginning. By this, you can save a lot of time, as it will not be necessary to re-visit your interview transcripts.

    Using MAXQDA for your interview transcription can also save you a lot of time and makes your interview transcription easier than ever before. With MAXQDA you can adjust the rewind interval and the playing speed to your own transcription pace. You can define abbreviations that MAXQDA automatically spells in full, and you can define speaker names that MAXQDA automatically inserts when you add a new paragraph.

  • How do you write an interview transcript?

    As in all aspects of scientific work, preparation is the key to success. Carefully think about the purpose of your interview transcription and decide what level of detail your transcript needs and which interview transcription method you want to apply. Next, familiarize yourself with MAXQDA’s advanced transcription tools, and adjust the settings to your needs (for example define a rewind interval, and abbreviations to replace). Then, start transcribing a first rough draft (with no or low rewind interval) which can include spelling mistakes and notes about unintelligible segments to revisit. In a next step, you can revisit and edit the transcript to get a readable transcript which you can use for your subsequent interview transcription analysis.

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