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Author Notes:

Corresponding Author: Monique Hennink, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA, mhennin@emory.edu

We thank Anna Newton-Levinson for her assistance with coding transcripts and tabulating data.

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


Research Funding:

The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


  • Science & Technology
  • Social Sciences
  • Technology
  • Information Science & Library Science
  • Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary
  • Social Sciences, Biomedical
  • Social Sciences - Other Topics
  • Biomedical Social Sciences
  • data collection and management
  • focus groups
  • interviews
  • qualitative analysis
  • research evaluation
  • research, qualitative

Quality Issues of Court Reporters and Transcriptionists for Qualitative Research


Journal Title:

Qualitative Health Research


Volume 23, Number 5


, Pages 700-710

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Transcription is central to qualitative research, yet few researchers identify the quality of different transcription methods. We explored the quality of verbatim transcripts from traditional transcriptionists and court reporters by reviewing 16 transcripts from 8 focus group discussions using four criteria: transcription errors, cost, time of transcription, and effect on study participants. Transcriptionists made fewer errors, captured colloquial dialogue, and errors were largely influenced by the quality of the recording. Court reporters made more errors, particularly in the omission of topical content and contextual detail, and were less able to produce a verbatim transcript; however, the potential immediacy of the transcript was advantageous. In terms of cost, shorter group discussions favored a transcriptionist and longer groups a court reporter. Study participants reported no effect by either method of recording. Understanding the benefits and limitations of each method of transcription can help researchers select an appropriate method for each study.

Copyright information:

© The Author(s) 2013.

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