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An exploration of the possibility for secondary traumatic stress among transcriptionists: a grounded theory approach.While there is a small, growing literature considering the psychological safety of researchers, little attention has been paid in the qualitative literature to the wellbeing of transcriptionists. Transcriptionists play an integral and essential role in qualitative research but are often overlooked in terms of the emotional impact of the work. Using grounded theory methodology, transcriptionists were interviewed to ascertain their experiences of their role. Findings indicated that transcriptionists experienced emotional distress and feelings of helplessness. Analysis of the data demonstrated that transcriptionists did have some coping strategies, but also expressed an additional need to discuss their feelings. Furthermore analysis revealed that the lack of safeguarding protocols for the profession made the role even more challenging. The emergent core category identified was that there was a risk of secondary traumatic stress for transcriptionists. Recommendations were made for additional safeguarding of transcriptionists through the introduction of a research team approach.
The risk of secondary traumatic stress in the qualitative transcription process: A research note.It is recognised that transcribing is not merely a neutral and mechanical process, but is active and requires careful engagement with the qualitative data. Whether the researcher transcribes their own data or employs professional transcriptionists the process requires repeated listening to participants’ personal narratives. This repetition has a cumulative effect on the transcriptionist and hearing the participants’ personal narratives of a sensitive or distressing nature, can have an emotional impact. However, this potential emotional impact is often not something which is accounted for in the planning stages of research. In this article we critically discuss the importance of considering the effects on transcriptionists who engage with qualitative data.