It took me a year longer than I planned to transcribe the interviews!
But they’re done! Even the one case that won’t be included in the actual thesis, in case I want to use it for another publication eventually. I still have 4 more to do, two of which need to be transcribed and analyzed for a book chapter due in June (2 months from now!), but I am officially done transcribing the interviews for my doctoral thesis – this is a huge milestone, given how tortuous actually transcribing them was. First I played them back at 60% speed using ExpressScribe software and my trusty transcription pedal, and then I listened again and checked the transcription at 90% speed. I didn’t calculate how long this took me, because the main problem was that even though I find the participants’ narratives fascinating, I found the actual transcription incredibly boring – it goes against my nature to be so painstakingly thorough, listening again and again to the same sentence to make sure I got every single word right. Everyone asked why I did it myself, and I insisted that it was because the transcription is my first stage of analysis, I am now very very familiar with my data. But, I transcribed 54 (10 to 45 minute long) interviews over the course of 2 years. I am glad I did it myself, but, as I plan on continuing to do qualitative research that requires transcription (and I don’t believe every interview needs to be transcribed, they did for this project because of the methodology), next time I will pay someone else to do the actual transcription, and then I will check each one myself to correct or clarify minor errors. That way I can still listen to my data myself, but not quite so much.
I almost didn’t work on the transcriptions today because my to-do list is filled with small tasks I need to do for other people: read over student papers, correct a colleague’s English, read over a book proposal, committee work…but I know I will do those things at the last minute and I decided to prioritize my thesis. I am so pleased!