This is how interview analysis works

Analyse interviewThis article is an excerpt from our eBook Recording, Typing, Analysing - Guide to Conducting Interview & Transcription.

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Evaluate interview

Depending on the purpose of the transcripts, they can be used in different ways after they have been prepared. On the one hand, the most important statements can be taken from them and embedded in the context of the study or the question, e.g. in the form of quotations. Another type of use is content analysis.

Basically, a distinction can be made between qualitative and quantitative content analysis differentiation can be made. For a qualitative analysis, the Mayring method is often used. This is aimed at researchers from the fields of education, psychology, sociology, communication science and the like.

The analysis can be qualitative or quantitative. For the qualitative content analysis Mayring is often used

Qualitative content analysis according to Mayring

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In qualitative content analysis, texts, such as interviews, are interpreted and evaluated in a rule-guided manner with regard to a question (cf. Mayring 2015). The basis for a qualitative content analysis according to Mayring are so-called Category systems. The categories with their subcategories and respective definitions are a central component of the analysis. In general, the category system should consist of categories that can be clearly distinguished from each other.

Central to a content analysis according to Mayring are category systems - the categories should be clearly distinguishable from each other

According to Mayring, there are three different techniques for transcription:

  • Phonetic transcription with the IPA to reflect dialect and speech colouring
  • The literary transcription in which dialect (in the common alphabet, not the IPA) is retained
  • The translation into normal written German.

According to Mayring, the latter variant is the most suitable when content-related and thematic aspects are in the foreground. Dialect is cleaned up, sentence construction errors are corrected and the style is smoothed out. This variant corresponds to the simple Transcription rules of

The procedure of qualitative content analysis according to Mayring involves nine steps. In the following, some central aspects of the procedure are briefly presented.

In a first step, the Source material is to be determined more precisely. Central questions are:

What is being analysed? (Only a section of the text or all of it?)
Who produced the material? (Who is the author and what is his/her background?)
How is the material available? (Usually as a transcript.)

This is followed by the formulation of a question. Here it is determined what the focus of interpretation is. This can be, for example, emotional reactions, opinions or intentions.

The first step is to determine the source material: What is being analysed? Who produced the material? How is the material available? This is followed by the formulation of a question

At the centre of the procedure is the "flow model", whereby a distinction is made between Three techniques differentiation:

  1. Explicit content analysis
    Explicit content analysis involves the use of additional data, such as background information. In this way, unclear text passages in particular should be made easier to understand. The corresponding data should be collected systematically and made transparent in the research process.

  2. Structuring content analysis
    Central to structuring content analysis is the filtering out of criteria that represent the text in its entirety. For this purpose, a category system is developed, which is mainly based on previously defined criteria. Thus, structuring content analysis is a "deductive" procedure, i.e. there are precise theoretical presuppositions. What is also possible in structuring content analysis is that new content can occur and thus new categories can be formed. This process is called "inductive" category formation.

  3. Summary content analysis
    In the summarising content analysis, the texts are reduced to their essential content. This produces a short text that serves as the basis for the interpretation. Categories are formed inductively, i.e. the categories develop on the basis of the material. The means or rules of the procedure include paraphrasing, generalisation and forms of reduction.

The process model is at the centre of the procedure. Here, a distinction can be made between three techniques: Explicit content analysis, structuring content analysis and summarising content analysis.

After creating a category system, the categories should be defined and delimited from each other. For this purpose, examples from the text should be collected accordingly for the respective category. This is followed by the Interpretation of the results with regard to the previous question.

Finally, the results are interpreted with regard to the previous question

Working steps of qualitative content analysis (according to Mayring 2015)
1. determination of the material
2. analysis of the situation of origin
3. formal characteristics of the material
4. determine the direction of the analysis
5 Theoretical differentiation of the research question
6. determination of the analysis techniques, determination of the concrete process model
7. definition of the units of analysis
8. steps of analysis by means of the category system, summary, explication, structuring, back-checking of the category system against theory and material.
9. interpretation of the results in the direction of the research question, application of the content-analytical quality criteria

Quantitative content analysis

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Quantitative content analysis is the systematic analysis of large quantities of text, in which as far as possible objective and systematically possible. Here, too, the formation of a category system is essential for the evaluation. Quantification is always required, i.e. all categories are counted according to frequency.

Quantitative content analysis is the systematic analysis of large amounts of text - it involves working objectively and systematically

The central step in quantitative procedures is the subsequent Statistical evaluation of the results according to frequency and in relation to the research question.

The central step in quantitative content analysis is the statistical evaluation of the results according to frequency

Tools for the evaluation of transcripts

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Another method that is particularly helpful for quantitative content analysis is computer-assisted data analysis. Data can be analysed with the help of special software. Particularly with larger amounts of data, the use of special software data, the use of such software makes it easier to structure and organise the data. The most common software packages in the field of transcription include MAXQDA and f4analysis.

Special programmes can also be used for evaluation - these facilitate structuring and organisation of the data. The best known are MAXQDA and f4analyse.


Analysing with MAXQDA

MAXQDA offers many more features that go beyond text analysis:

  • Read, edit and code data
  • Paraphrases
  • Create memos
  • Visualisation options (e.g. number of codes in different documents)
  • Group comparisons
  • Analyse combination of codes and scope of coding
  • Import and export of demographic data (variables) from and to SPSS and Excel
  • Import survey results from Survey Monkey
  • Import of web pages or parts of a web page
  • Search function
  • Transcribe audio and video material
  • Integrated media player
  • Georeferences
  • Coding with emoticons and symbols
  • Export to text, Excel, HTML, XML
  • Create frequency tables and diagrams
  • Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses
  • Creation of folders possible
  • Encoding of audio/video data without existing transcript
  • Variables for selecting specific text or code groups
  • Compare code frequencies for different text groups
  • Use of multiple user groups in one project
  • Arrange texts, codes, memos, coded text passages and free objects on a white surface and connect them with arrows
  • Displaying texts as images
  • Count word frequency list and word lists for counting word frequencies for texts, text groups or codes. (additional module with costs)
  • Carry out statistical evaluations (StatsPro module)

In addition MAXQDA the Compatibility with considerably more file formats than with f4analysis. Not only can all common audio formats be processed, but also numerous other sources, such as PDF, XLSX, JPG, video data or tweets.

With MAXQDA the compatibility is much more diverse than with f4analyse


Analyse with f4analysis

The software f4analyse is limited to some basic functions. F4analyse is offered in a package with f4transkript. The price varies between 50 euros (for students, for 6 months) and 500 euros (for a USB licence). This software is particularly for small amounts of data (up to 30 interviews) suitable. The functions include, in addition to those of f4transcript:

  • Helps to read rtf files
  • Structuring of the references, exciting passages can be filtered
  • Findings can be noted
  • Results can be clearly exported to word, prepared as a result report
  • Save annotations as memos
  • Comments on text and on codes
  • Memos are encodable
  • Develop codes and match text and memo
  • Clear representation of the code system, representation with different colours
  • Coded text passages can be easily filtered and compared

F4analysis is limited to the most important basic functions - the software is particularly suitable for small amounts of data

If one compares the two programmes f4 and MAXQDA, then it can be said that f4 is more suitable for beginners, as it offers simplified operability due to its considerably smaller Range of functions it offers a simplified usability. MAXQDA, on the other hand, should be used for extensive projects with many requirements or if a special file format that f4 cannot process is needed. Another very special programme that is also used to evaluate transcripts is "EXMARaLDA".

F4analyse is more suitable for beginners, it offers simplified usability. In MAXQDA the functions are more complex - the software is particularly recommended for more extensive projects.

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✅ How do you evaluate an interview?

The aim of the Analysis of an interview is to derive the information relevant to the research questions in a structured way.

In order to be able to evaluate an interview, it must first be transcribethus transfer it into written form.

The evaluation should take place according to a generally recognised procedure. A basic distinction is made between qualitative and quantitative analysis. The method of analysis should already be determined before the interviews take place, as this has a strong influence on the Interview guide and the Questioning technique has.

What is qualitative content analysis?

In a qualitative content analysis the aspects relevant to the research question are derived from an understanding of the content of the interviewee's answers.

A common method is qualitative content analysis according to Mayring. The analysis is carried out in a three-step process model:
1) Explicit content analysis: Systematic collection and clarification of all information from the interview.
2) Structuring content analysis: Categorisation of the content
3) Summarising content analysis: Summary of essential aspects of the interview.

✅ What is quantitative content analysis?

In a quantitative content analysis the interview is evaluated with statistical methods. Conclusions can then be drawn from correlations between different aspects (constructs).

✅ What programmes help with content analysis

For the Content analysis there are some computer programmes that support a structured approach.

Well known here are MAXQDA and f4analyse, among others. The transcripts vary in suitability depending on the analysis method. They should therefore be selected according to the procedure.

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