How can we capture the words, gestures and conduct of study participants? How do we transcribe what happens in social interactions in analytically useful ways? How could systematic and detailed transcription practices benefit research? Transcribing for Social Research demonstrates how best to represent talk and interaction in a manageable and academically credible way that enables analysis. It describes and assesses key methodological and epistemological debates about the status of transcription research while also setting out best practice for handling different types of data and forms of social interaction. Featuring transcribing basics as well as important recent developments, this book guides readers through: • Time and sequencing • Speech delivery and patterns • Non-vocal conduct • Emotive displays like laughter, tears, or pain • Talk in non-English languages • Helpful technological resources As the first book-length exposition of the Jeffersonian transcription conventions, this well-crafted balance of theory and practice is a must-have resource for any social scientist looking to produce high quality transcripts.


Social scientists are increasingly recognizing the value of examining the social world as it unfolds. A key challenge is to find ways of representing the words, gestures and conduct of the people being studied. This book explores the issues involved in this representational process. How should social scientists transcribe what happens in social interaction in analytically useful ways? What might be the payoffs of systematic and detailed transcription practices? This book is both a practical guide to the process of transcribing as a research tool and an introduction to the social science behind it.

At first glance, it might appear that capturing what is said on paper is a straightforward task: isn’t it easy to just write down what people say? Far from ...

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