Adult Attachment Interview – Transcribing Guidelines

Short Version

  1. Before asking the first question, it’s a good idea to give the date of the interview and then identify the interview with a number or code for the subject, and possibly state the name of the interviewer, so that information becomes part of the recording and therefore part of the transcribed record.
  2. The main questions of the AAI should be transcribed in bold and underlined, and (if time permits), numbered in accordance with the AAI question numbers.  Transcribe everything that is said by the interviewer  in bold, (except interjections that are recorded as part of paragraphs when the subject is speaking) and transcribe the subject’s speech in regular type. 
  3. In double brackets, type {{sic}} immediately after word or phrase that might appear to be a typo, but is not, or anything that is not grammatically correct.
    • Example 1)  We runned very fast. {{sic}}
    • Example 2:  I died when my mother was four. {{sic}}
  4. Double space between questions and answers (except for interjections and cross-talking).
  5. {{Double brackets means the transcriber is talking}}
  6. Single parentheses and italics are used to show that the interviewer said something while the subject was talking (like this), or made a minor comment, as opposed to a major question or a major follow-up probe (which should be set apart in separate paragraphs), or to indicate that the subject said something while the interviewer was talking (like this).
  7. Punctuation: Put punctuation in as the subject speaks, not where grammatically correct (including run-on sentences).
    • Comma – Pauses lasting only about 1 second (i.e., a breath) For example: We lived, um, with my mom for all of my life, she took good care of us.
    • Period – Used when the subject stops as if a sentence has ended, even if the subject then continues the thought. For example: When I was eight, um, maybe I was almost eight, um, or maybe, um, I was nine. Yeah, nine. Um, and my stepfather remarried at that time.
  8. “Inaudible” or barely audible words. Use double brackets to indicate inaudible passages or guessed-at words. Important: Don’t guess at words without using the brackets. Listen closely to verb tense and don’t make assumptions that the speaker is staying in the past or in the present. For instance, there is a big difference in recording these two passages by a speaker who is referring to someone who has died:
    • “She’s always telling me what to do.”
    • “She was always telling me what to do.”

      If, after listening carefully, you can’t tell which the speaker is saying, record the information in double brackets, perhaps like this: {{sounds like “she’s” but I can’t rule out “she was.”}}

    • For a guessed word or phrase within a sentence: Example: “That was when my dad {{hurt}} my mom.”
    • When you can’t understand words at all: Example: In double brackets, type the following: “That was when my dad {{transcriber cannot understand next 3 words}}.”
  9. Pauses: All pauses must be indicated by comma, dash or period depending on length of the pause.
    • Pauses lasting about 1 second, indicate with a comma (,) For example: “No, actually, um, I don’t actually, um, I don’t remember much of that.”
    • Pauses lasting about 2 seconds, indicate by a dash (--) For example: “No, actually-- um, I don’t actually, um, I don’t remember much of that.”
    • Pauses longer than 2 seconds, indicate each second with a dot (separated with spaces). “No, actually . . . {{ 3 seconds}}, um, I don’t actually, um, I don’t remember much of that.”
  10. Verbal sounds, emotions: Indicate laughter, crying, sighing, or other sounds, in double brackets:
    • Example: “I remember when the dog ate the birthday cake.” {{subject laughs for 3 seconds}}
  11. Interjections: Indicate quiet verbal acknowledges by the other person when one person is speaking (e.g. Mmmm-hmmm, Hmmm, Uh-huh, etc). with parentheses and italics, like this:
    • If interjection falls in within a sentence, it is lower case: “I have always wished my grandparents didn’t die when I was so little, (okay) but at least they lived long enough that I got to know them.
    • If the interjection falls at the end of a sentence, it is capitalized: “I have always wished my grandparents didn’t die when I was so little. (Okay) At least they lived long enough that I got to know them.
  12. Interruptions: Indicate when one person interrupts the other with a forward slash. For example:

    Next, I’d like you to give me five adjectives or words that reflect your childhood relationship with your mother/

    /Oh you don’t want to get me started!/

    And I’m going to write them down as you give them to me and then ask you about them.

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