Focus group transcription involves converting the proceedings of a focus group session (audio or video recording) into a text document. Unlike a one–to–one interview, transcription of a focus group session would take longer time because the participants may have different voices and accents. Moreover, people tend to talk over each other and it could be difficult to analyze who is speaking. Ensuring that your focus group session proceeds well is necessary to ensure clarity in the transcript.
Here are some tips on conducting your discussion for clarity and accuracy in the transcript:
- Before starting the focus group session, ask the participants if they have any problem being recorded for transcription. Have a back-up plan if anyone objects.
- Give background information and explanations about your research before switching on the recorder. This will save recording time.
- Arrange a top quality recording system with external microphones for each person. Also, check whether the recorder is working properly so as to avoid blank files. Use internal microphones for dictation (one-voice).
- A maximum up to 5 – 10 people per group would be ideal
- Ask each person in the focus group to introduce himself/herself. This will help the transcriptionist identity the speakers.
- Try not to serve refreshments during the discussion as eating will obscure speech.
- Conduct the focus group session in a quiet and comfortable environment. External disturbances and noises can reduce the quality and accuracy of transcription.
- Lay down the ground rules of the focus group session. Ask participants not to talk over each other in between the focus group session as this would make the session difficult to transcribe.
- Select the right moderator who has adequate knowledge about the topic discussed in the focus group session. The person should conduct skillful discussions, ask pre–determined questions and have the capability to establish a accommodating environment. The moderator should exercise mild, unobtrusive control over the reactions of the participants if they go off track.
Prepare for the transcription task as soon as the session ends. Make a detailed list of participants, along with the names of moderators and other persons who participated in this session including gender and other relevant information. Send the list to your transcription service provider. Inform the transcriptionist as to whether you want a verbatim or non-verbatim transcript.