Best Audio Recorder for Focus Groups (updated 2019)

Focus group recording devices

Recording focus group discussion is not easy. Focus groups are notoriously hard to control and manage. But crucially, you’ll have to record sound from different sources and directions. That’s not easy. Luckily for you, there’s recording equipment that make recording focus group discussion easier. And that’s my intention, to share with you the best focus group recording devices.
In a previous post, I shared a general outline of how to record a focus group discussion Continue reading…

Olympus ME33 Boundary Microphone Review

Daisy Chaining 6 Olympus ME33 Boundary Microphones

The Olympus ME33 boundary microphone is the mic that I recommend for recording medium and large focus group discussions. There are several reasons why, and I’ll touch on them later on in this review, but first a couple of suggestions. If you are looking to record focus groups, meetings or conferences in a boardroom setting, I recommend you also read this post on how to record focus groups and this post on choosing a recorder for focus group discussions. Those two posts additional tips that’ll help you capture great sound in a boardroom setting. Summary: Olympus ME33 Boundary Microphone Review The Good: You can connect up to 6 mics. Captures very little background noise; but captures distant voices very well. Sleek, attractive design. The Bad: Only works with digital recorders with plug-in power (1.5v-5v). They are not cheap. Verdict: These microphones are perfect for recording audio in large meeting or conference rooms. Also great for… Continue reading…

How to Record Focus Group Discussions

How to Record a small focus group discussion

A few days ago, I got this email from a researcher. “Hi, I’m doing an eval of a math program, 1 focus group with max 8 grad teaching assistants, 1-2 focus groups with students in intro math classes. 60 min each (max 3 60 min sessions). What kind of recording equipment/software would I need? Thanks, [Maggie].” I’ve been meaning to write a detailed post on how to record focus group discussions, but seem to never get to it! And this is the 3rd researcher that has emailed me asking for advice on how to record focus group discussion in the past 3 months! And recording focus groups can be tricky. You’ll have a room with 4-15 participants and making sure you clearly record each one of their responses is challenging. A couple of disclaimers. This is not a post on how to conduct focus group discussions. So don’t expect the do’s and don’ts of conducting… Continue reading…

How To Transcribe a Focus Group Discussion

How to transcribe a focus group

Step 1. Transcribe verbatim Step 2. Let the transcript be! Step 3. Use timestamps Step 4. Identify speakers Step 5. Proofread Focus groups are a great way to collect qualitative data. Because they comprise of a larger number of participants, up to 15, they provide a broad range of information. It’s always advisable to conduct at least a couple of focus group discussions with volunteers before conducting in-depth 1-on-1 interviews. Transcribing focus group discussion differs from 1-on-1 interviews. Because focus group discussions usually involve a large number of participants it’s difficult to capture all of the voices, especially interjections and overlapping conversations. In addition, it’s very difficult to distinguish the speakers. Thus, when conducting focus groups it’s important to consider these factors and take the following 3 steps to ease transcription. 3 Tips for Conducting Focus Group Discussions 1. Location. Conduct the focus group discussion in a quiet surrounding. If you have fans or AC… Continue reading…

Verbatim Transcription of Research Interviews and Focus Group Discussions

What is Verbatim Transcription Poland (1995) defines verbatim audio transcription as the word-for-word reproduction of verbal data, where the written words are an exact replication of the recorded (video or audio) words. With this definition, accuracy concerns the substance of the interview, that is, the meanings and perceptions created and shared during a conversation. And also how these meanings are created and shared during the conversation. So verbatim transcription of research data not only attempts to capture the meaning(s) and perception(s) or the recorded interviews and focus group discussions, but also the context in which these were created. Why Verbatim Transcription Whether or not one chooses to get verbatim transcripts for their qualitative data depends on the purposes of the research. Research methods should always reflect research questions. As an important step in data management and analysis, the process of transcription must be congruent with the methodological design and theoretical underpinnings of each investigation. Verbatim… Continue reading…

Understanding the Focus Group in Social Science Research

Focus Group Discussion

Focus groups can be an effective cost and time saving technique for social science researchers, depending on the type and design of the research study being conducted with the aim of identifying areas of agreement and disagreement among the participants.  Their original purpose was not to be a standalone method of data collection, rather, they were used as a way “of triangulating qualitative and quantitative data from the same participants (pp. 305). Arguments have been posed both for and against their effectiveness in their use in a single method research study.   However, there are both benefits and pitfalls to using a focus group as part of a research design.  A notable consideration is the importance of the focus group in the research process, which will guide the type of questions asked during the group time.  With careful planning, some of the pitfalls below may be avoided. Benefits to Using a Focus Group Interaction among participants… Continue reading…