analysis, social organization, classroom talk

Friday, April 29, 2005

developing a transcript

Recently I've been reading some student research work which makes use of transcripts. In all cases I was struck by the ways in which students seemed to overlook the development of a transcript as an essential aspect of analysis. Making a transcript appeared to be about getting words down on "paper", in order to begin analysis, with little consideration for how analysis actually begins with the process of developing a transcript.

To illustrate my concern - I used video recordings in my PhD research and these captured many non-verbal aspects of interaction. The task of recording all non-verbal actions could have been overwhelming, and counter -productive. I was faced with deciding which non-verbal actions to record. I looked to my methodology for guidance. Since conversation analysis places its emphasis on aspects of interaction that appear relevant to research participants I looked at video recordings with this in mind. So, for example, when the teacher responded to a physical action by a student i recorded it in the transcript. In this way, I developed a transcript that included some non-verbal actions as they seemed relevant to the teacher and her students. This worked for me because the development of my transcript was consistent with my methodology and research methods.

My message here is that it is important to consider transcript development as analysis, rather than as the means for beginning analysis. Further, what is recorded in a transcript should be consisent with your research methodology, and be outlined in an overview of analytic methods.