A couple thoughts on audio

Hi everyone,

This week’s readings seem more practical than theoretical, but there were two things that caught my attention in the Knight reading.

First, it was always drilled into my head that one should never rely on audio recordings for interviews, because sooner or later something will go wrong and you’ll be out of luck.  Even if the batteries are fresh and the record light is on, you sometimes have to ask: Does the microphone have a switch on it?  Is it plugged into the right jack?  Does the input have a volume control?  Does the device have a monitoring feature where everything looks right but nothing is actually being recorded?  etc, etc.

Knight mentions that having two recorders saves time on duplicating tapes, but it’s also good insurance.  In any case, in any interview I try to take notes as if it’s all I’ll have to rely on later, even if there is a tape recorder running.

Second thing — on the subject of transcriptions, I was wondering if anyone has had experience with dictation software, and if any of it is any good?  What with Siri and all, it seems like something software engineers have been working on a lot in the last few years.  It would be really interesting to try writing with speech, too.


2 thoughts on “A couple thoughts on audio

  1. hannahmasterman

    I’ve always wondered, though, how do you not rely on audio recordings in interviews? When I was in undergrad, I was an RA in a psychology lab. As part of that, I helped in one project interviewing students. You had to get participants’ permission to audio record them (because of ethics). Most people gave permission, but a couple of people said no and as a result we didn’t use their interview data.
    Does anyone have more interviewing experience? What do you do if you can’t audio record? Can you use handwritten notes and accurately compare them to an audio?


  2. jessstarr88

    I was wondering the same thing Hannah. I was asked to participate in a psychological study in undergrad, and the students running the study asked before the interview if I would mind be audio recorded – I said that I would prefer not to be, so they decided not to interview me. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but it seems likely that my interview would be less valuable (in terms of their collected data) because there wasn’t a recording of it.


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