Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education
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Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education

Edited by Sara Delamont

The Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education offers both basic and advanced discussions of data collection, analysis and representation of all the best qualitative methods used in educational research.
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Chapter 32: Transcription of Speech

Martyn Hammersley


Martyn Hammersley* Since the 1960s, many qualitative researchers have used audio- and/or video-recordings – and transcriptions of these – as data.1 This applies across most data collection methods, but especially those involving interviews or collective discussion (See in this volume Currie and Kelly, Chapter 29; Elliott, Chapter 20; Forsey, Chapter 26; Robinson, Chapter 28; Tierney and Clemens, Chapter 19). Indeed, in many quarters, reliance upon electronic recording and transcription has come to be so taken-forgranted over the past few decades that fieldnotes are now treated by some as a second-class form of data, if their use is not ruled out completely. A few researchers have seen reliance upon electronic recordings and transcription as finally enabling human social interaction to be studied scientifically, since ‘the data’ are preserved and can be reproduced: this means that they are open to repeated analysis, and furthermore can be made available to readers of research reports so that analyses can be checked (and, in effect, replicated) by others. This is a view that can be found among conversation analysts (see Peräkylä, 1997, 2011; ten Have, 2002, p. 2; Housley, Chapter 33, this volume). And there has been a long tradition of reliance upon detailed transcriptions among linguists (Green and Stewart, Chapter 5, this volume). However, most qualitative researchers probably treat electronic recordings and transcripts simply as a convenient alternative to fieldnote writing, one that provides enhanced detail and accuracy.2 There is now a substantial literature on issues surrounding transcription of audio- and video-recordings, though this literature...

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