Challenges in transcribing multimodal data: A case study

Francesca Helm, Melinda Dooly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017, Language Learning and Technology, All right reserved. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) once meant principally text-based communication mediated by computers, but rapid technological advances in recent years have heralded an era of multimodal communication with a growing emphasis on audio and video synchronous interaction. As CMC, in all its variants (text chats, video chats, forums, blogs, SMS, etc.), has become normalized practice in personal and professional lives, educational initiatives, particularly language teaching and learning, are following suit. For researchers interested in exploring learner interactions in complex technology-supported learning environments, new challenges inevitably emerge. This article looks at the challenges of transcribing and representing multimodal data (visual, oral, and textual) when engaging in computer-assisted language learning research. When transcribing and representing such data, the choices made depend very much on the specific research questions addressed, hence in this paper we explore these challenges through discussion of a specific case study where the researchers were seeking to explore the emergence of identity through interaction in an online, multimodal situated space. Given the limited amount of literature addressing the transcription of online multimodal communication, it is felt that this article is a timely contribution to researchers interested in exploring interaction in CMC language and intercultural learning environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-185
JournalLanguage Learning and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Multiliteracies
  • Research methods
  • Virtual environments


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