Interviews, Recordings, Transcriptions, Oh My!!

While in the community, MANOS members and I will be conducting SNA interviews. The purpose of these interviews is to examine interpersonal communication connections that exist in the community: it allows us to understand who is talking to whom. Later this information will analyzed using a program called Ucinet and we will be provided with a visual representation which will resemble a web and will have the interpersonal connections that exist in the community. This can then be compared to a previous analysis to determine if any changes in communication have occurred.

By taking notes and recording conversations (done with the permission of the participant), the interviews conducted can later be transcribed and coded. In order to effectively and accurately code for DTRA, the transcription must be as accurate as possible which is difficult because conversations cannot be recorded word for word and on top of that the interviews are conducted in Spanish. Most of the time we try to conduct interviews in groups of three: a Speaker (usually a fluent or advanced Spanish speaker), a Note-taker, and an Observer.  For larger meetings, we try to have the attendance of multiple Speakers and Note-takers. To keep the flow of conversation, we prefer to not have the Speaker take notes; however, they may clarify points to the Note-taker and Observer in English when needed.

After the interview is complete, the conversation is transcribed using the notes from Note-taker(s) and Observer, knowledge of the speaker and the recording of the entire conversation. As you can see, collaboration from so many sources helps to increase the accuracy of the transcription, but,  also increases the amount of time needed to translate and transcribe the conversations.

And that is only the transcription! Because we are in the beginning stages of developing a coding scheme, a transcription will be coded again and again in order to make it as accurate and true to the coding scheme as possible. And of course as the coding scheme continues to develop, it will change and dialogues will need to be recoded.  No matter the amount of tinkering I am able to do this summer, there are still waaaaaaaaays to go (luckily, it’ll be exciting and interesting ways, but still lots and lots)!