Edwards, J.A. “The Transcription of Discourse” and 1/23/2015 Class Notes

Edwards, Jane A. “The Transcription of Discourse.”

Impossible to use recording alone to understand and dissect multidimensional, overlapping interactions. Transcripts are not unbiased – “Far from being exhausting and objective, they are inherently selective and interpretive. The researcher chooses what types of information to preserve, which descriptive categories to use, and how to display the information in the written and spatial medium of a transcript” (321). The way your organize your transcript indicates power between researcher and researched, as well as power implications between conversations of the researched. Transcripts should be updated periodically through the research process, to reflect new insights. Differentiating between transcription, coding, and mark-up. How one transcribes and codes must be – systemic (clear boundaries of inclusion/exclusion), exhaustive (must include all possible categories), and contrastive (based upon the theoretical assumptions of the researched topic). Pro-tip – if using coding software, be sure to create equivalence lists or input all similar words in exact same way; follow-up with a line-by-line coding and re-check. Document surroundings, additional interactional patterns.

Class notes 1/23/2015

Differentiating between

  • Transcription: writing down what you hear, see – the data of your material; easy to access.
  • Coding: Tagging the data for relevant ideas. Putting something into the transcript to make patterns more observable.
  • Mark-up: the way you can “code” so that computers can help you code – marking relationships between codes and patterns from that.

*** see handout on Blackboard***

Ochs (1979): from your transcription, you can tell methodological and theoretical orientations.

What is the level of linguistic detail that you will use in your transcription? Why use one linguistic form over the other; why not use a form? Are people multilingual, and how will you accommodate this. How does gaze, gesture, facial expression impact the analyses – (however, they unrightly assume that the focus on this privileges interactional rather than linguistic analyses, ugh). Does your representation reinforce binarism – how will you work to combat this? Be consistent in marking and coding for interactions and inflection. How is your audience going to “read” these transcripts? How can you best communicate this and your ideas to your audience? Be detailed in your transcription, so that there are fewer chances for interpretive error. How will your transcription reflect the person who is speaking? (Avoid ‘eye-dialect’ – an orthographic representation not based on actual dialectical differences, i.e. wuz – often used to make people look ignorant, etc. Don’t try to over-interpret emotions or gestures – convey instead pitch, volume. Designate between literal translations and ‘free’ translations.

Narrative analysis – minimizing the interviewer; presenting interview as a monologue. (Sometimes associated with content analysis – “what people are saying, rather than how they say it”). Linguists focus on form as a means to understanding content.


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