A focus group is indispensable for quality market research. You can collect information from a focus group remotely or in person. Either way, the process of recording determines the quality of the information and its usefulness. Focus group participants are encouraged to discuss their different opinions and perspectives. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure you correctly record every detail. Here are some tips to better record focus group interviews.
1. Use The Proper Hardware And Software
Recording equipment can make or break your focus group interview. Using the right recording tools and using them correctly will make a big difference, even if other factors are not ideal. If you are not new to recording focus group interviews, you should invest in a quality digital recorder. An excellent digital recorder gives clear quality recordings, has ample storage space, is convenient to carry, and has intermediary editing capabilities. If you haven’t recorded a focus group before and don’t want to invest in gadgets yet, your smartphone device is sufficient. Almost every smartphone device comes with a free recording app. You can use that or go for a paid app that offers more features like full editing setup, effects, and backup support. Ensure your devices are fully charged before pressing the record button to prevent unnecessary breaks and delays. Also, check the device halfway to make sure it is still recording as it should be.
2. Train Your Participants
Talk to the participants of your focus group beforehand to give them clear instructions on making the discussion easy to listen to and helpful for research. Ask them to speak slowly and clearly, avoid interrupting each other, and speak loud enough. Discourage them from whispering to each other, making the main dialogue hard to understand during the transcription process. Also, ask them to avoid making side conversations that will create further interference, worsening the audio quality. If you will offer them refreshments, dedicate a specific time to let them eat. The sound of crunching, chewing, wrappers, and glasses will make it hard to hear the main conversation. Overall, training your respondents on the proper way to conduct the discussion will save you time and money by ensuring the audio is straightforward and easy to understand. A helpful tip is to start recording when all instructions have been given, clarifications made, and the main discussion has begun. This way, you avoid recording information that isn’t useful to your research.
3. Choose The Best Room
The best room for focus group interview recording does not create echoes and is free from ambient noises. Select a space that is soundproofed, probably with acoustic padding. If that is unavailable, go for a small enough room to avoid echoing but large enough to fit everyone comfortably. You should avoid all kinds of white noise sources as much as possible. Avoid rooms with loud air conditioning or heating systems, refrigerators, copiers, or vending machines. Those will show up loudly in the recording. This means you can’t record focus group meetings in a boiler room, break room or kitchen. Close the windows and turn off any televisions or radios in adjacent rooms to keep off ambient noise. Some recording software have an ambience reduction feature to help clean up the finished audio.
4. Maintain An Optimal Seating Arrangement
The seating arrangement is a significant factor in the quality of a focus group interview recording. A group of six participants is ideal for good audio quality. If possible, let the participants sit in a close circle around a coffee table and have the recording equipment placed in the middle of the table. The recording device should not be placed next to the moderator. This is to ensure all voices are clearly captured. A mobile phone may not be appropriate for recording a large group. Consider using two recording devices if you have a focus group with more than eight participants. You may need some technical skills to reconcile the two recordings, to make one seamless audio recording that is ready for transcription.
In conclusion, to correctly record focus groups for transcription, you must make prior preparations to ensure the final audio is clear and easy to understand. This can save you money during the transcription process. Ensure you work with a company that offers quality focus group transcription services at an affordable price to make your research process effective and productive.