Automated Transcripts – Support for Qualitative Researchers during the Pandemic

December 15, 2020

New Import Option for Automated Transcripts.

Due to the pandemic, qualitative research is currently going through transformation. Traditional face-to-face data collection is replaced by methods and procedures that allow for field work at a distance. More and more researchers conduct interviews through services like MS Teams or Zoom. With all the downsides this pandemic brings, there are also positive effects and opportunities, like the automated transcripts provided by online data collection tools.

Further advantages are that there is no expenditure on travel, it is a faster way of collecting data and interviews can easily be conducted with respondents across the world (c.f. Conducting Qualitative Research During Times of Uncertainty). Some researchers report that it has a positive effect on people with a physical disability. First of all, there is no travelling involved, and secondly online research makes the physical disability less visible. This made the respondents feel more at ease with the interview. Thus, online research can be more inclusive (see also Nehls, Smith & Schneider, 2015).

For further information on conducting digital qualitative research, we provide a list of sources at the end of this article.


Support for Automated Transcripts

To support researchers during this time of transformation, ATLAS.ti offers a new import option for transcripts generated by services like Teams or Zoom. When importing the transcripts, they will directly be associate with the interview video. All you need to do then is to go through the text, make edits as necessary, and your transcript is done!

Technically speaking, automatic captions, subtitles or transcripts are provided by many services in form of a VTT or SRT files.  With ATLAS.ti’s native support for this format, you can now import transcripts from a great many services. Examples are:

  • MS Teams
  • Zoom
  • YouTube
  • Happyscribe
  • Trint
  • Sonix
  • com
  • Panopto
  • ai
  • Temi
  • Simon Says
  • Vimeo
  • Amberscript
  • Transcribe by Wreally
  • Vocalmatic
  • eStream


Generating Automated Transcripts

For most services, you will find instructions on how to generate and export transcripts on their websites. This is the best source of information as we are currently witnessing a rapid development in the area of automated transcription and procedures may change quickly. For your convenience, below we provide some links but invite you to also search yourself for updated information.


Instructions how to generate transcripts from Zoom recordings.

Microsoft Teams:


How to Import Automated Transcripts

Click here to read the instructions for ATLAS.ti 9 Windows.


Instructions for ATLAS.ti 9 Mac

Step 1: Add the Recording

  • To add the recording, select Document > Add Documents; or select the link option: Document > Reference External Multimedia Document from the main menu.

Step 2: Associate a Transcript

  • Open the recording, open the drop-down menu for Transcripts in the toolbar, and select Import Transcript.
Import option for automated transcripts

Figure 1: Import option for automated transcripts (and manual transcripts generated elsewhere)

  • Choose the automated transcript in form of a VVT or SRT file and click Open.

The automated transcript will be imported into the project and opened next to the video recording. In the Project Explorer under the Multimedia Transcripts branch, you will find an entry for the video document and the associated transcript.

Multimedia Transcripts in the Project Explorer

Figure 2: Branch for multimedia transcripts in the Project Explorer

Below you see a recording of a Teams meeting and its transcript.

  • To see all timestamps, click Edit Timestamps in the toolbar.

Figure 3: Video interview and automated transcription displayed side-by-side


Figure 4: Automated transcript in synchro mode

Below the video, you see the list of timestamps.

  • Click on a timestamp, and the associated text segment will be highlighted.

You can now begin to edit the transcript – correct the text, move, add or delete timestamps. For further information on how to work with transcripts, take a look at the user manual.


Click here to watch the video tutorial for ATLAS.ti 9 Mac.


Sources for Digital Qualitative Research

Allesandro, C. (2018). Digital Methods for Ethnography: Analytical Concepts for Ethnographers Exploring Social Media Environments. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 47 (5): 551-578.

Archibald, Mandy M. et al. (2019). Using Zoom Videoconferencing for Qualitative Data Collection: Perceptions and Experiences of Researchers and Participants. International Journal of Qualitative Health Research (18):

Costello, L., McDermott, M.L. & Wallace, R. (2017). Netnography: Range of Practices, Misperceptions, and Missed Opportunities. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16: 1-12.

Graber, R. (2020). Guidance on Conducting and Supervising Community-Oriented Psychology Research During COVID-19. Available at:

Hampton, K.N. (2017). Studying the Digital: Directions and Challenges for Digital Methods, Annual Review of Sociology, 43: 167-188.

Jowett, Adam (2020). Carrying out Qualitative Research under lockdown: Practical and ethical considerations:

Lobe, Bojana & Morgan, David & Hoffman, Kim. (2020). Qualitative Data Collection in an Era of Social Distancing. The International Journal of Qualitative Methods (19):

Nehls, K., Smith, B.D. & Schneider, H.A. (2015). Video-Conferencing Interviews in Qualitative Research. In Hai-Jew, S. (ed.) Enhancing Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research with Technology. Hershey: Information Science Reference.

Pell, B. et al.  (2020). Using Visual Timelines in Telephone Interviews: Reflections and Lessons Learned From the Star Family Study. International Journal of Qualitative Methodology, 19: 1-11.

Ravitch, Sharon M. (2020). The Best Laid Plans… Qualitative Research Design During COVID-19. Social Science Space:

Salmons, Janet (2016).Doing Qualitative Research Online. London: Sage publication. See also the following webinar: When the field is online.

Seitz, S. (2016). Pixilated Partnerships, Overcoming Obstacles in Qualitative Interviews via Skype: a Research Note. Qualitative Research, 16(2): 229-235.

Vindrola-Padros, Cecilia et al. (2020). Carrying Out Rapid Qualitative Research During a Pandemic: Emerging Lessons From COVID-19. Qualitative Health Research, vol. 301,pp: 2192-2204.

What to do with your data after data collection: transcription and analysis




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