Transana is a computer program that allows researchers to transcribe and analyze large collections of video and audio data. Transana enables researchers to get more out of their data than is possible with other available methods, because it allows researchers to:
- Transcribe their video or audio files in as much or as little detail as desired. (Please note that transcription in Transana is a facilitated manual process. Voice recognition technology has not yet developed to the point where it is useful with most research video or audio files.)
- Identify and easily access the analytically significant portions of their video data.
- Manage large video collections containing hundreds (and potentially thousands) of hours of video.
- Organize video clips (from the same or from different video files) into meaningful categories, as a mechanism for developing and expanding the theoretical understanding of what the video shows.
- Apply searchable analytic keywords to these video clips.
- View graphical and text-based reports about your analytic coding.
- Engage in complex data mining and hypothesis testing across large video collections.
- Share analytic markup with distant colleagues to facilitate collaborative analysis.
With this set of features, Transana supports several distinct but compatible modes of analysis.
- First, there's transcript-based analysis, such as Conversation Analysis. There are people using Transana to create
elaborate, detailed transcripts that encapsulate their entire analysis. Transana explicitly supports Jeffersonian Notation, but many other
transcript-based annotation systems can also be used.
- Second, there's the creation and manipulation of Clips. This is the video/electronic equivalent of cutting text documents into
analytically meaningful strips, pasted onto note cards, which are then sorted into thematic piles all over the living room. Transana
allows the researcher to easily re-situate the clips in their original context of the larger video.
- Third, Transana supports applying coding to clips, which can then be searched. This enables such tasks as data mining and
hypothesis testing, as well as enabling researchers to look at their coding patterns graphically and through other reports. This is the video equivalent of
what Nudist and N*Vivo does so well with text, but with the added benefit of allowing one to display coding across time.
Education researchers often turn to video when they want to document interaction in the classroom. Video is an important tool for analyzing educational practices and tracking student outcomes. From the graduate student, who collects 80 hours of video for her dissertation, to the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a project which has collected approximately 25,000 hours of video data over the course of over 15 years, researchers clearly regard video as central to the analytic process. These researchers need tools that allow them to process and analyze the huge amount of data this represents. Transana is unique among video research tools for a number of reasons:
- Transana fills a gap in the world of analytic software. It enables types of analysis that cannot be performed with other existing software packages. Transana pioneered multiple simultaneous users (2002), multiple simultaneous transcripts (2008), and multiple simultaneous media files (2009), allowing for the analysis of extremely complex video data.
- Transana is cross-platform, allowing researchers to work with their preferred hardware. Most qualitative analysis packages are Windows-based.
- Transana is Open Source. Researchers can adapt the software to their own special needs if necessary.
- Transana can be used by researchers in many diverse disciplines. Current areas of research include educational practices, the analysis and preservation of rare languages, and the analysis of animal behavior, to name a few.
Transana was originally created by Chris Fassnacht. It is now developed and maintained by David K. Woods at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Development of Transana has been supported by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Science Foundation through NPACI at the San Diego Supercomputing Center . In the past, we have also received funding from the Talkbank project at Carnegie-Mellon University and the Digital Insight project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.