What the study period and data failed to do was address my subjective interpretation and classification of EVP. Whilst it provided a focus for critical listening, I wanted more certainty that the clips I translated would be commonly understood by a wider English speaking audience. As the sole editor of séance recordings and initial reviewer, I was concerned that my interpretations would lead to selective reporting and bias.
I explored the use of voice recognition software to objectively interpret EVP, unfortunately open source software such as ViaVoice (IBM) and Windows Vista built in software were not able to translate EVP. The brief nature and intonation of messages made recognition difficult if not impossible. Software does exist that might be of use but it is prohibitively expensive for the home user. I decided a more accessible way to explore if my interpretations were commonly understood was to perform an online listening survey.
Participants were directed to the two part survey through the group website or by a direct email invitation. Before beginning the survey participants were asked to declare if they believed in the possibility of afterlife communication, if they were a non-believer or if they are undecided.
In the first part they were asked to interpret a mix of series of 8 Grade A, B and C clips from the archive. In the second part, they were provided with a translation of the same 8 clips and asked if they agreed with our interpretation. The first and second parts of the survey were spaced some weeks apart, to avoid listeners becoming familiar with the voices. Because of the test format it was not possible for participants to download the voice clips, answers had to be given during the session.