Coming soon. Record, order and view transcripts right from your mobile device. Learn More

focus-group-interviewA typical focus group interview seeks to measure the public’s beliefs, opinions and attitudes about a products, services, and marketing during the early stages of development. This type of interview can take place one-on-one, or in a group of around a dozen people who usually share similar demographics. The data collected from these studies is evaluated by experts who try to develop a clear picture of how their target market thinks. If you enjoy sharing your opinion, a focus group interview is a satisfying way to do just that.

What to Expect During a Focus Group Interview

Whether the interview you take part in is done individually or in a group, and whether it’s carried out at the research facility’s office, by telephone or online, the purpose of the interview and the rules of the study are usually explained by a moderator. The atmosphere in these places is carefully designed to be nonjudgmental and to encourage an open exchange of ideas. Your information is always kept confidential.

Your responsibility in a focus group interview is to provide honest feedback about your real habits and feelings. Do not report what you think the moderator wants to hear, but truthfully state how you feel. You’re probably not the only person who has been invited to share an opinion, so always show up on time and be ready to participate.

Types of Focus Groups

Many manufacturers, such as General Mills, New Balance and Tide, conduct regular focus group interviews at their facilities. Telephone conferencing and online companies such as Plaza Research and 20/20 Panel often conduct interviews remotely before collating the data they’ve recorded and producing a report for the client who commissioned the study.

Focus groups can be an attractive diversion, not least because they typically pay for your time. Never engage in focus interview groups that require you to pay for participation or for a list of companies that conduct focus group interviews.

Participating in a focus group interview is an interesting and fun way to influence product development and earn some extra money. Follow @CrowdSource on Twitter for more information on how you can make a difference in the marketplace.

how-to-transcribe-a-focus-groupAsking your customers to complete a survey assumes they know how they feel about a topic, but sometimes they really don’t. Open discussion may be necessary before a person is able to form his or her opinion. Focus groups nicely fit the bill for such occasions.

Focus groups are unlike any other form of market research, and so is the way they are transcribed. Transcribing a focus group requires more attention to detail than, say, transcribing a typical customer interview. Focus groups are comprised of several participants, sometimes a dozen or more. This can make it difficult for transcribers to accurately reproduce the proceedings of such an event. When focus groups are large, there tends to be more background noise and distinguishing between speakers may not always be possible. Lastly, the purpose of a focus group is to capture the thoughts and opinions of individuals as they are being formed, which means non-verbal cues such as laughter, claps, “umms,” “ahhs,” pauses and stutters are important aspects of the conversation.

The following is a list of pointers on how to transcribe a focus group the right way:

1. Transcribe verbatim.

A true verbatim transcript transfers every spoken word, exactly the way it was originally delivered, including non-verbal utterances (referred to as fillers), such as “umm,” throat clearing, laughter and even silence.

A transcriptionist who is typing verbatim takes down every detail he or she hears in the recording. Fillers are typically spelled out, while ambient sounds, like doors opening or background voices, are described in parentheses.

2. Avoid the urge to “clean up” the transcript.

If a focus group participant uses expletive language, commits grammatical errors, mispronounces or misuses words, avoid the urge to correct this language while typing. If the use of a mispronounced word makes it difficult to understand the meaning of what was said, put the correct word in brackets or parenthesis within the transcribed document.

3. Include time stamps in the transcribed document.

Time stamping in transcription refers to the insertion of time in minutes or seconds into a transcribed document at regular intervals. Time stamps provide a marker of where in the audio each spoken word can be found. Time stamps are useful for focus groups because it allows reviewers to go back and reference discussions without listening to the entire audio recording.

4. Keep it confidential.

It is common for a focus group conductor to keep the identities of focus group participants anonymous. Instead of names, consider using identifiers such as “Speaker A, B, C,” etc. Alternatively, you can omit this information altogether but it may be difficult to read the transcribed document if you choose this route.

When transcribing a focus group, it is important to capture as much detail as possible so that the reviewers of the transcript can derive meaningful information. It’s not just about “what” was said, it is “how” it was said that can make all the difference in the world.

Want to learn more about transcription best practices? Follow us on Twitter @TranscribeCom.

Next read:
4 Interesting Uses for Audio Transcription


transcription-serviceWe live in a data-driven world. Every second, billions of bits of information are being collected, correlated, archived, and used to do everything from making dinner to forming international mergers. Data gives you the power to calculate, plan, model and predict almost anything you can imagine. With enough data to support it, any goal can be achieved.

Said succinctly, data is power.

Yet in business, some of the most critical information cannot be found in existing data streams. It must be coaxed from the minds of people. Quantitative data generally refers to numbers: any figure from finances to statistics that are measurable and calculable. Qualitative data however is descriptive; information that can be observed but not measured such as tastes, preferences and values.

Recognizing the value of qualitative data is about as old-school as you can get. But the impact of this data, combined with the technical sophistication of computer-powered querying, is exponentially expanded. Although the formats may vary, the methods for accessing these crucial bits of information all boil down to the same thing: talking to people. Having the ability to store and query this type of data can shift a business from abject failure to skyrocketing success.

But to be useful, qualitative data cannot be the product of a single conversation; it must be the product of thousands of conversations, all analyzed in concert to create high statistical relevancy and necessary risk/benefit assessments. For example, when a company conducts interviews such as focus groups or visioning sessions, meaningful conversations start flowing. That’s where the magic happens. That’s where the data grows.

Then comes the greatest stumbling-block: how do you translate all that talk – all that qualitative data – into quantitative data, i.e., usable data figures? How does all that sound become concrete?


A transcription service quickly and accurately turns verbal recordings into written documents you can query and work with. Unlike old, slow, clunky methods of note-taking and data-entry, transcription preserves every spoken word and presents it in a digital document primed for action.

No longer held back by mountainous paper forms or inexplicit survey-takers, you’ll discover that  a transcription service saves every word for your use, and it can be provided to you in digital document for your database. Then the data-experts can easily search, sort, correlate, and mine those precious words for every grain of information.

Programmers can easily sift transcribed documents for quantitative data, locking it away in the matrices that form critical statistics and key valuations. Meanwhile the qualitative data can be extracted, weighed, bundled for optimum implementation, and even transformed into new quantitative data through statistical analysis.

With transcription, the power of conversation is channeled into formats that can be queried, referenced, and refined – placing critical data at your disposal. A transcription service can be the bridge to transforming so much talk into so much success!

Ready to talk transcription?

Get Started Now 

Next read:
What to Look For in a Transcription Service Provider