Process Narratives

The objective of the Processing phase is to generate a story that the participant is happy with and that can be shared, used to generate assets, and added to the corpus for analysis. The StoryEngine methodology is designed to create space for reflection. Some people find it hard to articulate their thoughts or are less well-spoken, others need time to consider what they want to say, and some folks are simply tired or not on their A-game during their interview. We want to give participants the opportunity to relax and speak freely in an interview, and subsequently get the help of someone who can edit their words for flow and clarity, highlight areas of concern, and work with them to ensure their story reflects what they want to say.

IMPORTANT: Any information gathered during this stage should remain confidential, and not shared with anyone else — not even with others at the organization. Permissions should be kept tight, and the number of people with access should remain minimal — only key personnel, specified at the beginning of the project, should have access.

1. Update tracker spreadsheet

Keep master tracker and transcriptionist tracker sheets up-to-date with the latest information.

2. Transcribe the audio file

Decide and use appropriate service for transcription of audio files. Use natural language processing transcription services, such as Trint for transcribing clear — high quality audio, and transcriptionist services to transcribe medium to low quality audio.

IMPORTANT: Transcriptionists should sign an NDA before transcribing any audio related to the StoryEngine project.

__Trint is a text-based toolkit for transcribing, searching, and editing media content online. We use this to transcribe clear — high quality audio. The service transcribe an audio file in less time than the length of the audio file (less than an hour for an hour long audio file). Once the file is transcribed, you are able to listen to edit the transcription using their program — simply click on the text you would like to listen to or edit.

__Transcriptionist services should be used for medium to low quality audio files. If hiring your own team of transcriptionists, we recommend tracking that information using the StoryEngine tracker — transcriptionist tracker sheet. More information on hiring a team of transcriptionists can be found in the StoryEngine History and Learning document under Evolution of Transcription Services.

Tips for managing transcription files

Save transcripts as .txt files and note the specific stage of the editing process they are in. Example:


Use language that specifies the sensitivities of the files saved within. Example:


3. Create an editing or Google document

Once you have the raw transcript saved under the raw transcripts folder, either open that file as a google doc (should automatically open as a copy) OR make a copy of the original.

IMPORTANT: Due to potentially sensitive information, make sure to keep the permissions tight on all Google docs associated with this project “Link Sharing: Off — specific people,” (Click on Share > Advanced: make sure the following is selected: link sharing off, prevent other editors from changing access and adding new people, disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers)

4. Communicate with participant

Use boilerplate email template (Editing Update), to communicate with participant on where you are in the StoryEngine process. This email explains the process you use to edit and prepare their story for publishing.

5. Use the transcript to develop their story

Use the Editing Guide to edit the interview transcript.

Search the internet to find any supporting “evidence” links — links such as their personal LinkedIn / Twitter / website, blogs, etc. Add these to the google doc before sending to the participant for approval — this will give the participant the chance to add any links of their own, or remove any links they don’t want published with their story.

7. Request for review

Use the boilerplate email template (Request for Review) to ask the participant to review their edited document, make any necessary changes, and for a picture if they haven’t shared one with you already.

Once you have heard back from the participant that they have made all the necessary changes and are ready to sign the consent form — use the language from the boilerplate email template (Consent to Publish) along with the Consent to Publish template and HelloSign (or other e-signature service) to request consent to publish their story.

Once you have consent to publish, you are ready to share their story!

Narrative processing tools + templates

The following is a list of suggested tools, services, hardware, and software — these can be tailored to your organization and used accordingly.

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