If you’re running focus groups for your research, information-gathering or market research, it’s likely you will want to record them and get them transcribed. How do you get a transcript with the voices labelled? How do you work with your transcriber to get the best possible transcript output that is most useful for you?
Top tips for running your focus group if it’s going to be transcribed
When you get a focus group transcribed, you probably want your transcriber to differentiate the voices, adding the participants’ names to their utterances. Most transcribers are really good at telling different voices apart and labelling the speakers. However, you can help them by following these good practices:
- If you are recording a focus group in real life (as opposed to on a video chat), place your recorder in the middle of the group or table so that everyone can be heard equally.
- Ask the speakers to introduce themselves at the start of the session, with their name and a brief sentence – this can be about anything but helps your transcriber to match names to voices.
- Encourage speakers not to speak over each other, but to allow the current speaker to finish before they speak – if it’s in real life, the transcriber will hear two overlapping voices; if it’s a video call, the first speaker will typically be silenced by the second one.
- Every now and then, confirm who is about to speak or has just spoken – “What do you think, Jim?” “Thank you for that contribution, Sophie”. This really helps your transcriber to check they are still matching the correct voices to the names.
- When you send the recording to your transcriber, include a list of the speakers’ names – it’s also useful to note if one comes in part way through the recording. Then they can double-check who they’re listening out for.
Sending your recording to your transcriber
When you send your recording to your transcriber, do make sure that you …
- Include a list of the participants’ names, as mentioned above
- Specify what kind of transcription you need (verbatim, tidied up, etc. – see this article for more on the types of transcription). Transcriptions of focus groups often need to be absolutely verbatim, ums and ers and everything, and you need to tell your transcriber this.
- Provide any other basic information your transcriber might need – see this article for more detail
In this article, I’ve explained how you can run your focus group, then record and send it, in the best possible way in order to get a transcription that’s exactly what you need. Please ask any questions in the comments, or comment and share if you find this useful.
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