Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World

Qualitative Research Rebooted 2018

For the past two months, I’ve been occupied with a qualitative study of teachers’ use of digital technology in Alberta Schools. The study is sponsored by the Alberta Teachers’ Association.  It has been very useful for me to get down to actually doing a full scale qualitative study after years of teaching grad students research methods courses and advising and supervising graduate students.

This post is to highlight (and celebrate) two great tools that we have used that I think have almost revolutionary, or at least potentially disruptive effect on interview based research.

For this study we conducted 19 interviews mostly via Skype or Google Hangout, but also face-to-face and two on the old-fashioned telephone.  We recorded the interviews using a variety of digital tools included with Skype or Hangout or recording apps on our machines. We also used a portable digital recorder as backup. The MP3 recordings were then uploaded to new tool – Trint.com

Trint is an automatic transcription tool, which converts the audio track to text.  We uploaded the approx. 50 minute recordings and received notification about 15 minutes later when they had been transcribed to English texts.  As expected, the transcription failed (and sometimes comically) at transcribing proper nouns and other slang or colloquial terms relevant only to specialized audiences. The genius of the system is the editor within which the new text transcription is then displayed. This specialized editor has an audio track at the bottom, that reads aloud the audio track. You can vary the audio playback speed that then highlights on the screen the first draft transcription.  This editor allowed us to add speaker’s name, insert or delete paragraph breaks, search and replace, delete extraneous chatter and of course has a built-in spell checker.  The initial editing took us  about the same length of time as the recording runs. So,  we went from an Mp3 Audio recording of 50 minutes of clean text in about an hour.

We did however notice significant variation in the accuracy of the transcription and thus the length of time needed to manually edit the transcription. The recordings that were done through Skype or Hangout, were very accurate and required minimal editing. Those we recorded on the phone, produced much worse transcription, requiring us to edit and re edit as we listened to the actual interview. Thus, as Trint notes on their home page, the quality of the recording is critical to success.

Trint has an interesting pricing system, that after the first $10 free credit, charges are based upon the length of the transcription submitted. The cost is $15 US per hour, but we were pleasantly surprised that the cost was significantly lower than the actual length of our recordings. So this was money very well spent compared to shipping the transcripts to India or hiring professionals here in Canada. I’ve heard that professional cost for transcription can easy mount to over $300 per hour.

Once we had the text transcript, we uploaded to the cloud-based analysis program Dedoose. Dedoose.com, is not a new program, but has some interesting features that are certainly an improvement on my earlier work with Atlas and NVivo.

First, Dedoose is designed for coding teams. It has extensive tools for training and then testing inter-coder reliability. Next, is the general ease (not too bad a learning curve) of the coding itself. We were quite easily able to code, create new codes, arrange them in families and other functions of high quality qualitative analysis tool set. Finally, Dedoose’s has an integrated suite of quantitive tools. These allow you to look at any significant differences between subjects based on a host of ‘descriptors’ such as gender, school size or whatever variables the research chooses to associate with each of the interviewees.  Of course, such quantitative analysis is only meaningful if the coding is done systematically and reliably – a challenge to the very epistemological validity of the subjective experience of qualitative coding. Nonetheless, Dedoose worked as advertised and the coding was straight forward. Retrieval of the code excerpts to a Word file was also quite easy.

Dedoose also has an interesting pricing system. An account is billed (after the free trial) at $14.95 (US)/month – BUT only for the months in which the program is used. I was pleased to see the system remembered my account from over 2 years ago- and I am awaiting to see my monthly charge appear on my credit card.

Now I am looking for a program that writes up the research, recommendations and implications for practice and further research.

 

 

Similar posts
  • New Book from AUPress – An Onli... I was pleased to receive in the post a hard copy of a new book in the Issues in Distance Education book series, for which I continue to serve as the series editor. Now of course you can read all of the books in this series as they are available for download  under Creative Commons [...]
  • More on Distance Education Journal Ra... Both academics and administrators love to argue about the value (impact) of their academic work.  The old adage of “Publish or Perish” still has currency. Despite the many distribution opportunities besides and beyond publishing in scholarly journals, the bean counters (myself included) love citation indexes. The basic idea is that the more your work is [...]
  • What the FOLC is new in this article? Sorry, but I couldn’t resist spoofing, in the post title,  the unfortunate sound of the acronym for the “new” model proposed in this article. Now,  I’ve got it out of the way and can only suggest that if this “divergent fork of the Community of Inquiry model” is to survive, it needs a new English [...]
  • Quality in Online Learning Presentati... I was asked to do a video conferencing talk to a meeting of three Mexican Universities yesterday. They are attempting to come up with a common set of criteria to define and measure the quality of their online courses. Perhaps I was not the best person to ask, as I have very mixed feelings about [...]
  • Our Spanish adventure Unlike most of our voyages, this month I was accompanying my wife Susan on a trip to her conference. She registered in the 16 European Symposium on Suicide Prevention that took place this month in Oviedo, Spain. We took the opportunity to rent a car and bought a GPS with European maps (thank god!) and travelled [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Virtual Canuck via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 330 other subscribers

My posts by Category

My Blog Archives

Subscribe

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • SlideShare
  • RSS Feed for Posts
  • Email

Follow me on Twitter