Using NVivo to Correct and Code Transcripts generated automatically by Teams, Stream or Zoom

Introduction

Prerequisites

The following are important prerequisites. You will need:

  1. A media file that is either:
    1. A recording within Microsoft Teams saved to Stream
      OR
    2. A media file you can convert and upload to Microsoft Stream*
      OR
    3. An audio or video recording through an institutionally licensed Zoom account (with subtitling enabled)
      OR
    4. A recording from another system that outputs a subtitle file (that you will then convert to VTT)
  2. Installed version of NVivo – the following is illustrated for R1.
  3. Installation of the free VLC media player

Process

  1. Create a media file with subtitle file in VTT format
  2. Download the media file and the subtitle file
  3. Clean the subtitle file ready for import.
  4. Import the media file into NVivo
  5. Importing the cleaned subtitles as a synchronised transcript into NVivo
  6. Listen to the media file and read the synchronised transcript in order to begin analysis through
    • Correcting the transcript
    • Labeling speakers
    • Making notes (annotation)
    • Initial coding the transcript

Step One – Create a media file with subtitle file in VTT format

Depending where you start there are a few ways this will work – all have the same end point: a media file and a VTT transcript. It’s all detailed over in this post.

The introductory video was created with Teams, another was created in Zoom. You can also (currently) upload videos to Stream or use a wide range of other applications and system to create an automatic transcript of a media file.

Step Two – Download the media file and the subtitle file

Exporting from Zoom

NOTE: Zoom will (attempt to) label speakers based on their name in the zoom call – consider if you need to anonymise this as it’s easily done at this stage.

Step Three – Clean the subtitle file ready for import using an online tool

This is the essential step of development work that bridged the gap from a VTT file to an NVivo-ready file.

Option 1 – Clean the VTT file into NVivo-ready format online

Go to https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/ellist/vtttocaqdas.html

Upload your VTT file, Click convert, download the text file.

Option 2 – create your own copy of the converter

Go to the GitHub page at https://github.com/TimEllis/vttprocessor

Step Four – Import the media file into NVivo

First there’s a STRONGLY recommended preparatory step for NVivo as well which adds a column for labelling the speaker in a synchronised transcript. It’s a bit hidden in the documentation though: under the Audio/Video section in Changing Application options.

I would recommend:

  1. Set a skip back on play in transcribe mode of 1 second (this means audio skips back when correcting so you go back to where you were) AND
  2. Add a Custom Transcript Field for speaker.

NVivo Windows

NVivo Release 1 for windows transcript import is documented at https://help-nv.qsrinternational.com/20/win/Content/files/audio-and-videos.htm

(Unchanged process but slight interface changes from v12 instructions available here )

Note that it is likely you’ll need to install a codec pack for any video files.

NVivo Mac

NVivo Release 1 for Mac audio and media importing is is documented here https://help-nv.qsrinternational.com/20/mac/Content/files/audio-and-videos.htm

(Unchanged process but slight interface changes compared with the NVivo 12 notes on audio and video files here)

It’s usually pretty straightforward – if the media will play in Quicktime it will play in NVivo.

Step Five – Import the cleaned subtitles as a synchronised transcript

NVivo Windows

NVivo Release 1 for windows transcript import is documented at https://help-nv.qsrinternational.com/20/win/Content/files/import-audio-video-transcripts.htm

(Unchanged process but slight interface changes from v12 instructions available here )

NVivo Mac

NVivo Release 1 for Mac transcript import is documented here https://help-nv.qsrinternational.com/20/mac/Content/files/import-audio-video-transcripts.htm

Step Six – Listen to the media and correct the transcript (and begin initial analysis steps)

So this is where it all pays off!

This process allows you to now use the powerful tools within NVivo to playback the audio / video (including slowing playback speed,adjusting volume and setting rewind intervals when you press play/pause + keyboard shortcuts for the play/pause functions) whilst you read the transcript and make corrections. But not only corrections! You can also annotate the transcript, label speakers and even start coding at this stage.

Resources

Example project file NVivo R1 (Windows) here

Example project NVivo R1 (Mac) here

Example media file and VTT file from the first video also available here.

The blog bit – background, next steps, context

So this has been a real focus for me recently. I’ve had a lot of help and encouragement – see acknowledgements below – but also NEED from students and groups who are wondering how to do transcription better.

I also think this really gives the lie to the idea that manual transcription is “the best way” to get in touch with audio. I’m kind of hoping that the sudden shifts the pandemic has caused in practice and process might lead to some developments and rethinking of analysis. This quote has been too true for too long:

Over the past 50 years the habitual nature of our research practice has obscured serious attention to the precise nature of the devices used by social scientists (Platt 2002, Lee 2004). For qualitative researchers the tape-recorder became the prime professional instrument intrinsically connected to capturing human voices on tape in the context of interviews. David Silverman argues that the reliance on these techniques has limited the sociological imagination: “Qualitative researchers’ almost Pavlovian tendency to identify research design with interviews has blinkered them to the possible gains of other kinds of data” (Silverman 2007: 42). The strength of this impulse is widely evident from the methodological design of undergraduate dissertations to multimillion pound research grant applications. The result is a kind of inertia, as Roger Stack argues: “It would appear that after the invention of the tape-recorder, much of sociology took a deep sigh, sank back into the chair and decided to think very little about the potential of technology for the practical work of doing sociology” (Slack 1998: 1.10).

Back L. (2010) Broken Devices and New Opportunities: Re-imagining the tools of Qualitative Research. ESRC National Centre for Research Methods

Citing:
Lee, R. M. (2004) ‘Recording Technologies and the Interview in Sociology, 1920-2000’, Sociology, 38(5): 869-899
Platt, J. (2002) ‘The History of the Interview,’ in J. F. Gubrium and J. A. Holstein (eds) Handbook of the Interview Research: Context and Method, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage pp. 35-54.
Silverman D. (2007) A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about qualitative research, Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE.
Slack R. (1998) On the Potentialities and Problems of a www based naturalistic Sociology. Sociological Research Online 3. http://socresonline.org.uk/3/2/3.html

Various additional links and notes:

How and when Stream will be changing https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/stream/streamnew/new-stream

Bits about zoom needing transcripts switched on and how to do this (ie.e. send this link to your institutional zoom administrator see https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115004794983-Using-audio-transcription-for-cloud-recordings- )

A cool free online tool for converting other transcript formats (e.g. from EStream, Panopto or other systems) https://subtitletools.com/

And finally for more information on the VTT format see this excellent page.

Thanks and acknowledgements

This hasn’t happened alone. Many thanks to Tim Ellis especially for his work on the VTT cleaner and sharing it via GitHub.

If you’ve got suggestions, ideas, updates, developments or found this useful please post a comment, link to this or build on it.

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