Tips For Conducting and Recording Group Interviews For Transcription
Conducting a group interview that is going to be recorded and sent to a transcription company is not as easy as it sounds. Group interviews can be notoriously difficult to conduct well. Participants can talk over each other, speakers can go off on a tangent and it can be extremely difficult to control background noise. Fear not, here are my tips for recording a well structured and relevant group interview.
- Brief your participants in advance. Let your group participants know what kinds of questions you are going to ask so that they can start thinking about the relevant points that they would like to convey during the interview. This can help you to obtain concise and well planned answers, as well as preventing group participants from sharing irrelevant information.
- Group etiquette. Explain to all group members, individually and as a group immediately before the interview begins, that everyone needs to respect the views of others and that cross talking, arguing and talking while others are talking is not acceptable.
- Talking time limits. It may be well worth your while to restrict the amount of time that each participant can share their view, without a break. Many times, you will find that more confident group members will take over the discussion, meaning that it is difficult for others to contribute to the conversation.
- Make sure that everyone is close to a microphone. If you are conducting a large group interview without enough microphones, you may find that some voices cannot be heard. You will also run the risk that you will end up recording a lot of background noise instead of relevant discussion.
- Avoid serving food and drinks during your interview. Clanking of cups, munching on muffins and shuffling sheets of paper can make your interview very difficult to hear. Consider using a projector to display any important documents instead of handing out paper copies during your interview. If you must serve drinks, keep teapots, coffeepots and water on a separate table from your interview and use disposable cups, as they make the least noise when placed on and off the table. Serving food should be strictly reserved for before or after your interview.
- Take Control. The interviewer should take an active role as a moderator and help the transcriptionist by introducing each speaker in order to maintain accuracy and include any brand names, places or technical terms mentioned during the group interview. If accurate identification of members is crucial at all times, it may be worthwhile asking speakers to say their name each time before they make a contribution to the discussion.
These are just some of the things you can do to improve the sound quality and content of your group interviews. We pride ourselves on providing fast and accurate transcription services for your group interviews and are always available if you would like more advice or tips on how to record the best audio possible.