EILAB Experience 4 | Data Analysis, Part 2

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EILAB Experience 4: Script

Narrated by April Stauffer | Written by Todd J.B. Blayone


In the last video we described opportunities for data analysis using FaceReader and The Observer XT from Noldus Information Technology. Here, we introduce two other software applications used by EILab researchers: Transana and QSR nVivo. As we emphasized before, whether quantitative or qualitative, performed live or on recorded data, regardless of the theoretical frameworks involved, data analysis in the EILab represents a partnership between researchers and “cognitive machines.” These software tools provide the interfaces that facilitate this partnership.


Transana is a program designed to facilitate qualitative analysis of video, audio, and still image data from a variety of theoretical approaches. It functions by linking media files to one or many written records or transcripts. There are five basic types of transcripts. These include: 1) field notes, 2) partial transcripts related to portions of a video, 3) annotated summaries of video content, providing as little or as much detail as one requires, 4) verbatim transcripts representing spoken words recorded on video, and 5) transcripts that go beyond the spoken word. The last type includes a variety of subtypes and it is often chosen when implementing behavioural coding schemes. Several transcripts can be associated with the same media files, providing many layers of descriptive or interpretive data.

Transana allows one to enter “time codes” into a transcript. These codes link particular positions in the transcript with the corresponding positions in the media file. Thus, as the video plays Transana highlights the transcript text corresponding to the part of the video being displayed. Just as importantly, if you find an interesting passage in the transcript, you can readily access the associated video. This allows researchers to remain close to their source data, an important research concept. Time codes also help to delineate boundaries in the video, to signal when a particular segment of video begins or ends.

In Transana, transcription is an analytic act requiring the researcher to reflect on several questions. How much transcription is necessary, at what level of detail, for each research project? What part of transcription can be hired out to transcriptionists, and how much needs to be done by trained researchers? Where do particular interesting acts begin and end? How frequently should one insert time codes for a particular piece of video?

Transana Introduction Video

QSR nVivo

NVivo is a deep, qualitative analysis application that helps researchers organize and analyze unstructured information of any kind. NVivo handles virtually any data, including Word documents, PDFs, audio files, database tables, spreadsheets, videos, pictures and web data. It is also possible to exchange information between NVivo and other applications like Word and Excel, IBM SPSS Statistics, Survey Monkey, EndNote, Evernote and OneNote. NVivo is especially adept at capturing and managing online information with its browser based, online capture extension. It integrates several major online services such as YouTube, making it possible to analyze themes in video data and accompanying comments.

NVivo’s query tools allow one to pursue subtle trends, and automated analysis features let researchers layer their data and drill down to significant details. It allows researchers to search for an exact word or words that are similar in meaning to quickly test theories or identify areas for further analysis. NVivo is especially useful when working with lots of data of mixed types. You can display connections, ideas and findings using visualization tools such as charts, maps and models, while viewing the live data behind them.

nVivo Introduction Video