Transcriptionist saturation: knowing too much about sensitive health and social data
Article first published online: 14 AUG 2014
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 71, Issue 2, pages 295–303, February 2015
How to Cite
2015) Transcriptionist saturation: knowing too much about sensitive health and social data. Journal of Advanced Nursing 71(2), 295–303. doi: 10.1111/jan.12510, & (
- Issue published online: 12 JAN 2015
- Article first published online: 14 AUG 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 JUL 2014
- information technology;
- nursing research;
- occupational health;
- online transcription companies;
- qualitative interviews;
- research methods;
- sensitive interviews;
- textual analysis;
The paper describes and interprets the experiences of transcriptionists employed to translate recorded auditory research, medical, court data into text and specifically when the research is sensitive and the audio source material may be traumatic to hear.
This study highlights the ongoing need for transcriptionists to be recognized in the ethics process as a potentially vulnerable group who need greater support and debriefing when transcribing sensitive health and social data.
Telephone interviews were conducted with 12 transcriptionists in Australia and New Zealand during 2012, who had transcribed sensitive material and reported issues with transcribing certain topics. Accuracy and confidentiality were paramount in this work.
Seven participants reported negative emotional and physical effects from transcribing sensitive material On the other hand six participants found the work enjoyable.
The majority of the transcriptionists did not receive any debriefing after transcribing sensitive material. The participants developed their own strategies to deal with the effects of transcribing sensitive materials such as online support groups, relaxation activities and unofficial debriefing with friends and family.