Focus group discussions are a popular interview method used to collect relevant information from a group set up. Usually these group discussions are informal and allow the sharing of information between the participants. The group sessions have a moderator, or moderators, who facilitate the discussions by asking questions relevant to the research topic and encouraging debate among participants to get different point of views about the topic at hand. For effective analysis of these group sessions; a number of people have turned to digital recordings for documentation purposes. Here are a few tips which will help you prepare the discussion groupings for digital recordings.
- The first step is to get a good digital recorder and get familiar with the equipment. Set the recorder up and record discussions with friends; in order to get a feel for the equipment and how it works.
- Get an external microphone to ensure that you will record high quality audio. The audio recorded is very important to the transcription process; if any sound distortions are picked up the transcription is likely to have inaccuracies or misinterpret facts. The internal microphone which most recorders come with is not sufficient to get the clear audio quality required for transcription purposes. An external microphone also acts as a backup plan should the internal microphone fail to record any sound.
- Set the recorder to use a compressible file format. This may be a technical process and you can get help from an audio equipment expert.
- When initially purchasing the recording equipment; make sure that the recorder is supported your computer’s operating system. This is because you will transfer the recordings to your computer for storage and to send to transcriptionists via email.
- Make sure that you inform participants that the group sessions will be recorded for documentation purposes. This is an important move to help participants prepare to speak freely regardless of the presence of recording equipment.
- Record the participants when the only activity taking place at that time is the discussion. Recording when the participants are eating will lead to muffled audio and the participants will be more conscious of the equipment and give inaccurate facts or refrain from answering questions entirely.
Once you have your digital recording from the group discussion; transfer it to your computer system. Remember to compress the digital audio file and create a backup storage for the file for added safety. more on focus group transcription