Focus group meetings are undertaken in all sectors of business and research across the globe, and are an important part of gathering information for research, marketing, innovation and learning purposes. The data extracted out of a focus group interview can be of great value to companies, giving them feedback and consumer information that can be used to introduce new products, ideas or processes to the market.
When recording for focus group interview transcription, there are some important points to consider. Besides the technical aspects required in terms of using high quality audio recording equipment and where possible, microphones, here are some handy tips to get the most out of your focus group interviews.
Choose the Right Moderator
One of the most important first aspects of a good focus group interview is choosing your moderator wisely. The right moderator will come in to play as he or she will be able to make sure that your group focuses precisely on the topic at hand with no distractions.
An ‘unfocused’ focus group wastes both time and money, with transcription of speech that may be effectively meaningless.
Set Discussion Rules
Rules and boundaries are crucial when having your focus interviews transcribed. All focus group material should be included in order to get a clear perspective on a number of views.
If one speaker is dominating the entire conversation or numerous speakers are over speaking, carrying out individual discussions or ideas can become scattered, confused or missed entirely. Set focus group rules and boundaries ensuring every voice is heard, by taking turns and showing others respect.
Where speaker identification is required, have attendees introduce themselves to help the transcriptionist identify their voice. Where speakers are of a similar age, gender and/or nationality, consider asking them to speak their name (or an allocated number) before each comment.
Even for a professional transcriptionist, over speaking is difficult to transcribe. An interview that is rowdy will likely result in a transcription that is just as chaotic to read.
Consider Your Participants
Involving the right participants is an essential part of a focus group interview. After all no client wants to waste money on a focus group interview that does not yield positive results.
You may also want to consider accents or nationality of speakers when allocating your focus group to a transcription company. Transcriptionists with experience of a given language should be used where possible to avoid mishears and/or unclears where there are speakers with accents.
Develop Clear Objectives
Many companies believe that asking as many questions as possible will enable them to get ‘value for money’ but this is simply not correct. Bombarding participants with information can confuse the discussion, and result in going off topic.
When it comes to focus group interview transcription services, you may want to offer a list of keywords, spelling, company names and jargon with your interview recording to help ensure the best quality finished document.
Do not save the most important topic until last. In focus group discussions, participants can run with a topic for long periods of time so starting with the least important questions is not always a good idea. Instead, always try to ask your most important questions near the beginning and middle of your allocated time slots to make sure they are included.
Carefully structuring focus groups can also save money. If you find that there is superfluous material that is concentrated towards the beginning or end of your audio, you can instruct your transcription company to start or finish at a given time.
Create a Relaxed and Positive Atmosphere
When interviewees feel comfortable and respected, they are more willing to share their views. When conducting a focus group interview, be sure to:
- Approach it with a positive tone
- Personally greet all your participants
- Ensure everyone is relaxed and comfortable within the group
- Be open-minded and interested in what participants say throughout
- Do not appear to judge
Leave on a High
Focus groups are important when conducting research and getting feedback on what your company does well as well as where it falls down. Well conducted focus groups can also generate interest and brand awareness.
Thank participants for their time, tell them what will happen next and try to engage them further by inviting them to join your mailing list, and offer to share your results and findings from the research.