I study psychosocial support among refugees of conflict in developing countries and the role of social identity in these mechanisms, and large chunk of my PhD project data is qualitative. I did some interviews for a pilot study and I intend to conduct many more over the next year. In order to transcribe the pilot interviews, I turned to the School of Psychology’s technical support to use the transcription pedal that they have. I found one but unfortunately the previous user returned it without the CD that contains its software! I got the software and the transcription pedal turned out to be very helpful. I actually now think that I should get one to use during my 8 month long field work.
There were two challenges that I faced when considering my choice of transcription pedal for field work. The first is the cost, as professional transcription solutions (pedal+software), like the one my school has, costs hundreds of pounds. Secondly, I plan to use a Chromebook which means that I need a universal padel (no driver installation) which works with any operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux or Chrome OS).
I found a basic gaming USB pedal on eBay (search “USB Foot Control Keyboard”) for less than £8 that you can plug in any computer and start using without any driver installation (there is a small software to assign the function of the pedal, if needed). To do my transcription, I use the pedal to stop and resume the audio file on otranscribe.com (the website does not upload the audio file) which allows me to write while listening.
Before using the pedal, you need to assign the pedal function (keyboard key or a combination of keys) using the software that came with it. You’ll have to do this only once on a PC, and the function of the pedal will not change even if you use it with any other computer.
The pedal I use comes with one action (which I assigned to Stop/Play). If you need more functions (e.g. rewind, forward or adding a timestamp), you can pay more to get a pedal with two or three actions for less than £20.
The downside with this solution, is that you need to be connected to the internet in order to use otranscribe.com.
(If you know an offline alternative or can program an offline Chrome app/extension, please let me know)