Focus group transcription falls under the heading of multi-voice transcription services, which also includes round table discussions, Q & A sessions, feedback meetings and market research settings, but for ease of reference, we will talk about focus group transcription (which will encompass all the above scenarios)
In order to get accurate transcripts from your focus group meetings, we would advise you to visit our focus group recording advice page but also review the tips below. Don't forget to contact us to get a quote for your focus group transcription project.
We carry out focus group transcription from digital and analogue audio as well as video, so please feel free to contact us to discuss the set up of your meeting to ensure that you get the best recordings, so that we can produce the most accurate transcripts for you. Our experience has included focus group transcription of groups of three people and up to fifteen people, and we reiterate, clear recording is paramount for an accurate transcript. Therefore please read carefully the following guidelines prior to carrying out your meeting.
Choose a quiet location (remember that open windows in the summer will pick up outside traffic noise, lawn mowers and especially road works)
Very important - get the participants to say a little about themselves first before starting the discussions. Two minutes of introductions by each participant can make the difference between voices being identified throughout or not.
If you think people are quiet or difficult to hear the recording (and subsequently the transcriber will certainly notice that), either get them to move closer to the microphone or ask them politely at the beginning to speak up a little for recording purposes
Thanking the person by name after they have spoken is always a good idea too, in case they announced their name quickly. Only the first name is necessary for identification and people with the same first name can be easily differentiated by e.g. D (David) and Da (David)
Don't have drinks available during the session but have them in break times. Cups and crockery cause terrible problems when transcribing material. It obscures what is being said when something is put down heavily or dropped (and can deafen the transcriber when they turn up the sound to hear a quiet speaker and a spoon gets dropped onto a ceramic surface!)
Ask all participants to turn off their mobile phones. Phones set to vibrate or silent ring will still cause signals to be picked up by speakers/microphones
If using a microphone that uses the table to resonate sound the above especially applies
Where possible use digital medium (digital recorder) for a better sound recording/playback quality
Choose someone with extensive experience in transcribing these sorts of meetings
Have a practice run through with colleagues in the room you choose to use to check on recording levels, placement of the microphone and background noise. Listen to the recording through headphones, because this is what the transcriber will use
When people return from breaks ensure they sit in the same places. A 'road map' is devised for these sessions by an experienced transcriber and if recorded in stereo, people can be identified by their position (i.e. participants being heard through the left hand speaker and others through the right hand speaker) - which all goes awry if you allow people to choose their seating on their return.