Are Transcripts required in Transana?

by | Sep 21, 2016

A recent support interaction:

I am a PhD student interested in purchasing Transana, and I have a specific question about the coding of the data.

I have videos of people interacting and I want to look at the attitudes as much as at what they are saying (to do both conversation analysis and thematic analysis). For some videos I want to work only on the attitudes. I want to know if I can code the videos directly or if Transana requires a transcript to do the coding.

Transcripts are not required for working with media data in Transana. Go to the ScreenCasts page of the website at https://www.transana.com/learn/screencasts/ and look for “Creating Clips Without Transcripts.”

That being said, though, you still might want to create “attitude” transcripts along with or instead of any verbal, conversation analytic, or other transcripts you create for some of your media files. The Professional and Multiuser versions of Transana support multiple simultaneous transcripts linked to the media files, and this allows for some very powerful analytic processes.

From my perspective, the media file is your primary data, and a transcript is a useful abstract representation of that data whose main purpose is to allow you to locate the portions of the media file that are analytically important or interesting. I see a transcript as being a map to your data. Just as you can have multiple types of geographical maps (political, topographical, agricultural, etc.), having multiple maps to your media data (verbal, gestural, conversation-analytic, attitudinal, visual, etc.) can be very useful too, especially when these maps can be overlaid upon each other through Transana Professional’s multiple simultaneous transcript functionality.

I think about it this way. If you are going to be going through your data once and only once for a particular viewpoint (attitudinal, in your case), then working without transcripts is really efficient and can be quite effective. You develop a coding scheme as represented by Transana’s Keywords and you apply those codes while creating transcript-less Clips while watching your video once. Bam, you’re done.

But if you think your understanding of the attitudes in your media files may evolve during your analysis, if you think you might want to review your attitudinal coding based on things you’ve learned while working with your data, then attitudinal transcripts become more important. They allow you to find the segments worth reviewing, allowing you to skip major segments of your data that aren’t relevant to your revised understanding of the attitude concepts you are studying. The more your theory of attitudes evolves based on your analysis, the more useful it will be to have taken the time to develop an attitude transcription scheme as the basis for your attitudinal coding.

Take a look at the Documentation page on the website at https://www.transana.com/learn/documentation/ and follow the links to the Dempster & Woods and especially the Woods & Dempster articles there. Halverson, Bass, & Woods also discusses this from a different viewpoint.