Costing CA Researcher Time

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Costing CA researcher time, results of brief survey 2014, Ruth Parry December 2014

In interests of supporting more grant capture for CA work particularly but not exclusively in healthcare, I posed a brief puzzle: Given approx. 35 video recordings of twenty minute healthcare interactions already collected and verbatim transcribed, how much time of a postdoc researcher who already had relevant CA skills (done a relevant PhD study using CA) would you think would be needed to

  • (1) Do analysis such as to write two decent papers with different analytic foci, and
  • (2) Plus derive some clinical implications / recommendations


  • Range = 4 months-1 year.
  • Mode = 6 months


  1. About 6 months. Say they took a month to familiarise themselves with the data, some of the surrounding lit and to start doing better transcripts for relevant bits. Then another month to build relevant collections and continue with improved transcription. They could then split the next three months between the two papers and a final month to focus on the recommendations. But it does also depend on whether you want them to put those recommendations into some kind of easily accessible format (e.g. leaflets for clinicians/website?) - and more time would be needed if you were going down some kind of training element (either face-to-face or e-learning).
  2. Do analysis for 2 papers: 8-12 months from a standing start, if candidate is top-notch; 16 months, or never, if not... Derive recommends.: ditto, and concurrently
  3. About six months
  4. In the states (e.g., NIH, NSF, ACS) a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Investigators (C0-I) are budgeted based on salary base + %age time needed/allowed to accomplish the work. So costs vary depending upon those numbers. Post-docs would typically be budgeted as either a Co-I, or a Consultant or Independent Contractor to do specific tasks/projects. Salaries for the Co-I’s are dictated by academic rank. Rates for Consultants and IC’s get negotiated - and there can be a broad range of pricings involved, depending on the task and normal rates of those who do such work. I think for your case I would assume you would want to hire someone for a period of 6-12 months. Work off an annual salary base for post-docs in your area, and adjust accordingly.
  5. For a postdoc I estimate 4 months.
  6. There are a lot of "Ifs" here, namely: (1) if every recording had at least one instance of a same 'something'/practice; and (2) if, after vetting in #1, there was an emergent practice; and (3) if the data provided enough material to 'defend' such a practice in a CA manner (and with only 35 recordings, there is a real question as to whether or not a practice can emerge) … THEN I would say: 70 hours of CA intensive re-transcription, PLUS About 3 months of dedicated, full-time CA work per paper, IF more than one emerged But there is a chance that nothing will emerge :-(. Most conservatively, you might 'bet' on a single, single-case analytic style paper.
  7. With that much (ideally video) data, yielding 70 hours’ transcription and 2 papers, something like a 0.8 post for one year, adding in extra time needed for the clinical implications etc
  8. Between six months and a year. In that time I would include the preparation of the papers so that they would be submitted and preparation of a clinically oriented paper and/or workshop.
  9. ((This respondent knew of other estimates of 6-8 months, and felt would be safer to be more conservative)) 12-16 months full time. Though maybe I'm underestimating what a person can do if they don't have other responsibilities, like teaching and committee work.
  10. Currently we are working with 250 calls (3-5 mins each), and preparing two publications. We have set out to spend 6-7 months on this. It seems like enough time when covered by most of a full-time post. We probably won't CA-transcribe all the rough transcriptions.