choosing a digital recorder

  1. I am planning to do qualitative research this summer, involving interviews of hospitalized patients. I'm trying to decide between a traditional minicassette recorder and a digital recorder with a PC interface and the ability to download conversation as text (probably using Dragon Naturally Speaking Software.)

    I understand it would take a good typist about 4 hours to type 1 hour of converstaion. I know the Dragon Naturally Speaking Software has limitations, but I thought it might speed things up. I am a very poor typist, and am trying to figure in the cost of a professional typist when I look at expense. Ease of use is also an issue.

    I would appreciate any advice anyone can give me!
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    Joined: Apr '04; Posts: 361; Likes: 192


  3. by   BeachNurse
    Just curious, but why are you doing interviews? I would think that a survey or questionnaire-type of tool would be far easier than interviewing.
  4. by   bookwormom
    Quote from BeachNurse
    Just curious, but why are you doing interviews? I would think that a survey or questionnaire-type of tool would be far easier than interviewing.
    I don't have the source at hand, but I think the answer is that loosely structured interviews are the way to go when you know the questions, but not the answers. In my case, I wish to gain:

    1) Information about the kind of experiences that patients have that might be described as mystical (a phenomenological description)
    2) An undertanding of what it feels like, as a nurse, to hear and respond to patients sharing these experiences.

    There are ( a few) formal tools to evaluate mystical experience, but I think they are too structured for the kind of thing I'm after, and they incorporate a certain religious slant, which may or may not be applicable. They really aren't geared to a hospitalized patient population.

    I'm planning to interview in the summer, and I'm trying to get things set up now; that's why I have the digital vs cassette question.
  5. by   BeachNurse
    Yes, I see that now. I am not very knowledgeable about this type of research and less knowledgeable about digital recorders, so I won't be much help! It sounds interesting. Good luck!
  6. by   Kelly2004
    I am a Nursing student and my Microbiology spoke so fast that I went out and bought the Olympus digital recorder at Target. I didn't get the software to convert it to text since so many of the words used in Micro are unusual. After each lecture I just download the digital recording and type it out myself. On high quality I can get 1 hour 28 min before it is full. I hope this helps.

  7. by   bookwormom
    thank you kelly. i have done some checking and find that the software won't work for me either, since it only recognizes one person's voice. here's a question: how long does it take for you to transcribe an hour of lecture?
    sincerely ,
  8. by   Kelly2004
    I usually take notes even though I am recording, so I try to type from my notes and fill in the blanks from the recording. I still have to listen to the whole recording, so it takes just over an hour per hour of recording by the time I type my notes in first. However, for the one time I lost my notes and just had the recording I took twice as long!! Keep in mind that I am writing word for word since I am being tested on the material. Also, Micobiology was foreign to me, if I'd understood the material better I certainly could have condensed the material down.