Template analysis does not require the kind of highly detailed transcription used in discourse analysis or conversation analysis, where intonation is recorded precisely, pauses timed to partial seconds, and so on. Some may argue that it does not require full verbatim transcription at all, seeing it as sufficient to transcribe word for word those passages directly addressing the research question and recording the rest in summary form.
However, if taking this line, it can be hard to be sure which parts of an interview are relevant to the research question until quite some time into the analysis. Instead, it can be useful to include information beyond just the participant’s words, where it aids understanding of their account including pauses, laughs, an ironic tone in the voice, and so on. Below is an example of this level of transcription as carried out by Professor Nigel King in a recent interview, which is part of an ongoing study of people’s experiences of ghosts and apparitions.
N is ‘Nigel’, W is ‘Wendy’, the participant (a pseudonym, of course).
Square brackets are used for interjections, overlaps and paralinguistic aspects such as pauses [p] and information about intonation.
Capitals indicate emphasis.
N. Right, OK. So, what – I know you’re recalling this from some time, but what do you think made it frightening? Because it’s different from the first experience, you don’t discuss any fear at all. What was there in the second experience that made you and your friend…
[W. talking over: I think that’s because I was older…]
…rather than run and scream?
W. I knew more then! [amused tone]
N. Was it YOU or was it…
W. I don’t think it was the FEAR of what it was, it was just a reaction. I think when I was a child you more accept, you don’t you know, you’ve not read at that point, you’re still learning about the world, so you just accept things as [p] that’s how it is. But now for me, when I was older, because of course at school you talk about ghosts, you know, you read things like that. And looking at it, it looked like a ghost and it just kind of…because I’d never seen anything physical when I was a child, perhaps if I had when I was a child it might have scared me. But then seeing a figure, older, it really did kind of jolt me a bit. And it wasn’t so much that the figure was threatening, it was just [p] what I’d seen, it was me interpreting it as a ghost, and then just kinda thinking "aaaah!" and running