Cogi Makes Recording and Transcribing Interviews Affordable
Crystal Saunders, a History Major at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, is in the process of completing her dissertation about the early days of the Head Start Program. As part of her research she has interviewed more than a dozen women around the country.
“My dissertation looks at a Head Start program that was in existence from 1965 until 1968 in Mississippi. And I’m looking at why this particular program wasn’t funded even though it was held up as a model program for the rest of the country. Most of the women that worked for the program are still in Mississippi. Some are in DC, some are spread out now living in other areas but the majority of them are in Mississippi. And so, I use Cogi to talk to them and to learn their life histories and how Head Start employment changed their lives.”
As a graduate student on a budget Cogi has proven indispensible in her work. “It’s expensive to fly all over the country just to conduct interviews. It’s not as if I’m salaried or have someone that’s funding this research. So it’s definitely made it a lot more affordable”
With Cogi you can literally interview anyone anywhere in the United States or Canada. And not only record and archive that conversation but have it transcribed or even selectively highlight sections for transcription. This can effectively turn any conversation into a living document that can be reviewed and edited.
“It’s allowed me to get the material I need without the work. It’s hard to have an interview over the phone and get every word down so it is very helpful to have that recording. It’s also been helpful being able get the highlights or even the entire interview transcribed. That saves me a lot of time because that’s work I’d have to do.”
One of the things Crystal discovered during her research is how the Head Start program helped strengthen families and communities. “When we think of Head Start we think of Preschoolers, but the program in its initial years was much more than a Preschool program because there was a much larger parental component. And so Head Start was really a community tool, in the sense that parents were expected to have a hands on participation in the program. They were expected to teach, they were expected to volunteer, they were expected to learn what it is that their student, their children were doing every day and to try to reinforce those lessons at home. And so that’s been interesting to me, seeing the ways in which Head Start didn’t just affect the child but affected the child’s family.”
With Cogi, Crystal is also able to share the call with the people she’s interviewed. Often the people she’s interviewed will ask for a copy, with Cogi it’s as easy as sending them an email. From your Cogi account you simply enter their email address in the share feature and if they have a Cogi account the call will automatically appear there. If they’re new to Cogi, Cogi will create a guest account for them with their own secure credentials where they can view and listen to the conversation at any time. And for those few hold outs who still don’t have email you can download the audio as an MP3 and save it to a CD and mail out a copy.
“I am a huge fan of Cogi. As a graduate student whose research requires her to interview people all over the country, Cogi is really helpful in getting work done at an affordable price.”
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