focus group transcription

Round table discussion / focus group and forum transcription …

We are able to transcribe from standard cassette, standard video, CD, DVD, digital video, MP3, AVI, Real Player, Media Player or mini disc recordings.  A list of participants is required, and where possible speakers will be identified from their initial introductions to the meeting. If this is not available then speakers are given an identity number and a key to those participants is given at the beginning of the transcript. For example, S1 = male voice, (deep), S2 = male voice (deep, older voice) etc. Those that were at the forum should be able to identify the speakers from these descriptions and without identifiers provided by the client this is the most accurate way of identifying participants and is ideal if the content is sensitive and individual identities are inappropriate.

We would be happy to send you an information leaflet regarding successful forums and focus groups. This leaflet contains details of how to arrange your meeting so that you get the most accurate transcript possible. This is especially important if you want your participants identified.  Click here to contact us and request our leaflet along with our rates. See what one of our satisfied clients wrote about our service here.

If you have videoed your focus group or forum, we can transcribe straight from your video. By capturing the video to PC using our video editing suite of software we can transcribe whilst the video is controlled by our transcription software, identifying speakers as they make their contributions. 

We have covered groups with as few as five participants and as many as 12. Videoed groups of larger meetings is advisable is specially controlled meetings if individual/accurate identification of voices is required. Specially controlled meetings takes the form of people pressing a buzzer which lights a panel on the facilitators board to indicate they want to speak or the raising of hands/cards to indicate the participants desire to meet – this all depends on the ‘atmosphere’ you wish to create during your session. These are particularly useful if you are running groups with children or people with learning difficulties/speech impediments.

From extensive experience transcribing these sessions, we offer these IMPORTANT TIPS:

  • Get a leaflet from us with advice on running a successful focus group/forum
  • Choose a quiet location (remember open windows in the summer will pick up outside traffic noise and especially road works)
  • Pick the correct microphone
  • 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 the recording or the transcriber having a number of question marks where the initials of the participants should be. Without sufficient introduction time no identifiable trends in tones, voices, accents or other identifiers can be established and therefore a ‘road map’ of what voice goes with what name is impossible. That little bit of extra time at the beginning of your session will enhance the opportunity for the transcriber to accurately reflect who said what and when
  • If you think people are quiet or difficult to hear the recording (and subsequently the transcriber) will certainly notice that, so either get them to move closer to the microphone or ask them at 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 (mini disc) 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.