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Free Resources & Tips


TranscriptionMax works with a number of small and large research organizations, as well as doctoral students.  We are happy to suggest tools and formats to make your research project easier, as well as more cost effective. 


First, use digital recording equipment rather than analog tapes, as digital quality is far superior.  Poor quality recordings take longer to transcribe and therefore can cost more to transcribe, and usually include more "inaudibles."  MP3 or WMA digital formats are typically used as the quality and file size are both very good.  WAV files do not use compression, and therefore no quality degradation, but are often excessively large files.


Second, test your equipment before the interview, and arrange the interview in a location that is quiet.  Restaurants and other public areas are not good places for interviews due to background noise.  Similarly, eating during an interview is always problematic.  Again, audio quality will affect the price of the transcription, as well as the quality.  Crosstalk (including interviewer acknowledgement ticks, such as "mm-hmm"), or background noise will likely result in "crosstalk" or "inaudible" notations in your transcript.  Remember, the transcriber is only human, so if they can't hear what's being said, they can't type it. 


Set your recorder to the VAR or VOR (Voice Activated Recording or Voice Operated Recording) setting, which will record only when there is dialogue or audible sound.  This will make the recording shorter by eliminating pauses, and therefore less expensive to transcribe.  However, be sure to read the recorder operator manual and test this feature first!   You may experience some lag in the recording between dialogue start and stop, which means that some words may be cut off.    


Lastly, assign numbers or fictitious names to your speakers if you want to ensure confidentiality.  Anonymize the participants before recording and you maintain control over confidentiality. 


Qualitative Data Analysis


TranscriptionMax can help you with transcripts that are compatible with a variety of QDA applications, such as NVivo, NUD*IST, MaxQDA, Ethnograph, HyperRESEARCH, Atlas, and others. 


Here is a link to a free QDA software from the Center for Disease Control:


Here is a link to a paper on analyzing qualitative data:


Here is a link to a website that discusses various QDA software: