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This is part 4 of a 7 part series about software and internet resources for research. Part 1, “Inspiration for an Idea,” can be found here and part 2, “Literature Review,” can be found here, and part 3, “Research,” can be found here.

After you conduct your research, the next step will likely be transcribing your interviews and/or focus groups, etc. I only have experience with transcribing one-on-one taped interviews and taped focus groups. I’ve tried a few different transcription software programs and Express Scribe is by far my favorite. It’s free software that is compatible with both Mac and PC (so the free part is a benefit). The reason that I love Express Scribe is the features it offers. It’s compatible with Microsoft Word, so you can set up “hot keys” (or short cuts) that allow you to play, pause, rewind, and fast forward while in Word i.e., you’re typing in Word and without switching back to Express Scribe you use “control+d” to pause. It makes the process much easier and you save a lot of time by not having to switch back to Express Scribe. Two other great features are playing in slow motion and automatic rewinding of 5 seconds upon pause.

I do not have any experience with transcribing video, but the other RA in the online-on-campus comparison research project used Transana to transcribe the class discussions in the on-campus class. I don’t think it was her favorite software, but it worked well enough. Transana is no longer free, but you can download an older version from their website for free. You can purchase a copy for $50 and it is compatible with Mac and PC.

I also like to make a few notes about possible themes/hunches while transcribing and to do this I usually use a mind map. I’m always super careful to make these notes because it’s really too early to be thinking about themes- but I always “test” them against the data once it is available.

Related post: My first experience with Express Scribe