Focus Group Transcription

By: Sarah Roberts

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Focus groups are an invaluable research tool to many. Companies are using focus group data to influence important business decisions. If you’re already putting in great time, effort and investment to gather individuals and source insights, you also need to ensure the preservation of that information. For this reason, it’s vital to know how to transcribe a focus group discussion to maximize the data you’re collecting.

As an essential partner for business transcription, Verbit’s leaders designed a solution that meets today’s needs for data collection and analysis. Our innovative focus group transcription services can help you get the most value from your data and come to conclusions more efficiently.

Table of Contents:

Why more businesses are using focus groups

Focus groups offer a quick way to gather information about consumers’ wants, needs and opinions. Businesses often find that focus groups can be arranged far faster and at a lower cost than conducting a full-scale survey. Also, the focus group setting allows professionals to get more in-depth information from the participants. Instead of quick multiple-choice surveys or short write-in answers, more companies are turning to focus groups. This avenue is an opportunity for more complete explanations and analyzable qualitative data.

When done properly, focus groups let the participants interact to further engage them in the topic that you’re researching. In order to be effective, it’s essential to make sure you capture all of the dialogue. Analyzing everything participants say requires having an accurate record of the discussion. Fortunately, enlisting a solution like focus group interview transcription provides a convenient way to review and search conversations to uncover and reference helpful findings.

People sitting in a conference room with glass walls - focus group transcription

Should your focus group be in person or online?

In-person focus groups are the traditional approach, but today, many companies are opting for online alternatives. In the last few years, most people learned to use conferencing platforms like Zoom. Focus groups can, therefore, work well in an online environment. Both of these options offer benefits and drawbacks, so it’s wise to weigh the relevant pros and cons for your research efforts.

Here are a few elements to consider when making a decision on how to host your focus groups.

In-person focus groups: When focus group participants are in the same room, they often build a better rapport. Face-to-face connections can also make it easier to gauge the meaning of expressions and body language. Additionally, these are a better option for research involving children, who might be less able to participate effectively in an online setting.

Online focus groups: Online focus groups are cheaper and easier to arrange. More people might be willing to participate if there isn’t a need to commute to a specific location. Additionally, you can get a group of people from different locations together without having to plan for travel. 

In either of these cases, you’ll want to enlist transcription services to maintain an effective record of your focus group discussions.

Why transcribe a focus group?

Transcriptions provide researchers with many key benefits. Having a written copy of the conversation makes for a more efficient review process. With interactive transcripts, such as Verbit’s, the analysis becomes much easier. You can search the file for specific terms and quickly locate the topic you’re interested in reviewing. Additionally, the transcripts match with the video and audio recordings. Thanks to this useful feature, the researchers can find a particular recording or part of a recording in just seconds.

Researchers may also want to use the transcript to create a resource like a word cloud that identifies terms that participants brought up most often. Given the usefulness of transcripts, it’s critical to find the right focus group transcription solution.

How to transcribe a focus group

Transcribing a focus group is simple with the right partner and tools. There are several different ways to generate complete and accurate transcripts. 

How to transcribe a focus group discussion

Determining how to transcribe a focus group discussion in person is a matter of choosing live or post-production recording. A live transcription might not be helpful for the participants in most cases, but there can be exceptions. For example, the researcher moderating the group discussion might want a running record of the transcript. This live record can help them develop follow-up questions while the participants are still in the room. Additionally, live transcripts can increase accessibility similar to real time captioning.

If live transcription isn’t right for your focus group, you can generate the transcripts after the discussion ends. All you need to do is capture an audio or video recording, and then upload that file to Verbit’s platform. Within hours, you will receive the interactive transcribed version of your original recording. 

How to transcribe an online focus group

Transcribing a focus group online is quick and easy with a partner like Verbit that has integrations you can use with conferencing tools like Zoom to simplify the process. You can schedule live transcription on the platform you’re using to reference during the focus group itself. This way, you can callback anything participants said and ask them to elaborate. You can also pull and upload the recording of a focus group directly to Verbit’s platform to reference after the fact. 

Additionally, if you’re hosting focus groups live through video conferencing platforms, you may also need to consider closed captioning the discussions. This solution supports members of your focus group who may have disabilities, hearing loss or be participating in a non-native language. If you’re using a partner like Verbit to help with your transcripts anyway, you can easily add captions to the platform you’re using to make the discussion clearer for everyone. Studies indicate that regardless of accessibility needs, everyone focuses better and retains more information when you use captions. You can therefore look to captions as a solution to boost participant engagement in focus groups you host virtually.

Room with a lot of different chairs

How to tell who is speaking in focus group transcription

Focus groups involve gathering a group of people, often from a particular demographic or who share certain characteristics. By its nature, this type of research encourages interaction between participants. As a result, the transcript will be capturing what multiple people are saying. Transcripts, therefore, need to identify who was speaking in order to match words to the right participant and develop a useful written copy.
Fortunately, Verbit identifies the speakers in the transcript to ensure that you can always attribute statements to the correct focus group participant. You can also prepare Verbit’s transcription software and professional transcribers by uploading the names of participants ahead of time. That way, the final transcript will include the correct spelling of researcher and participant names. Alternatively, if you want the names of the focus group members to stay confidential, Verbit also offers security you can rely on to keep protect their identities.

How long does it take to transcribe a focus group?

Transcribing can be time-consuming for people who aren’t professional transcribers. Even for people with training, the average is four hours to transcribe each hour of audio content. It takes even longer in cases where the transcriber doesn’t have much experience, where the audio quality is subpar, when the participants have accents or when individuals don’t speak clearly.

Since transcription is not costly, turning to a professional provider will save you time and resources in the long run. Verbit provides the option for live focus group transcription services. When using this solution, it’s possible to have a real-time, interactive transcript during the discussion itself with a final, proofed draft just hours later. Verbit can also service multiple recorded videos or audio files from focus group sessions simultaneously to deliver complete transcripts from pre-recorded events within hours.

Professional transcription services free up your researchers to perform other tasks and offer rapid turnaround times. Verbit can complete most transcripts in just hours, ensuring that partners receive accurate, ready-to-use files quickly. 

How does a focus group transcription service provide accuracy?

Professionals shouldn’t need to worry about whether or not their focus group transcription is accurate. While technology can help this process, it’s important to understand the limitations of free transcription software or automatic speech recognition technology (ASR).

Inaccurate transcripts create inaccurate data and can lead businesses to incorrect conclusions. This scenario can be harmful. Therefore, enlisting a partner you can trust to deliver transcripts with word-for-word accuracy and correct speaker identification is key. Verbit aims to deliver a targeted 99% accuracy rate on its transcripts of recorded video and audio content.

4 people meeting in a conference room

How Verbit’s process meets focus group needs 

Verbit uses AI to support its transcription for focus groups but also uses professional transcribers to edit the AI’s work. As a result, Verbit’s focus group transcription solution meets accuracy needs while delivering transcription work live and quickly. However, if businesses prefer to work with professional human transcribers only, Verbit can offer that service too.

Verbit also increases it’s accuracy and transcript quality with a glossary tool. The glossary allows partners hosting focus groups to upload key terms, speaker names and other elements they plan to diuscuss into Verbit’s engine ahead of time. This way, transcribers will identify the terms with ease. As a result, transcripts will instantly reach higher levels of accuracy, even before the additional rounds of human editing. 

Prior to transcribing a focus group, we encourage researchers to input niche terms, names or anything else that might be challenging to interpret. Our technology and transcribers then deliver highly-accurate results that other providers’ solutions can’t meet.

Make your focus group effective & actionable 

You’re likely investing significant time and energy to put focus groups together. Fortunately, you can make the follow-up process of gathering data and results much easier. Consider partnering with Verbit for searchable transcripts that make your focus group video and audio data actionable.

Verbit can also provide your business with closed captioning, translation and audio description, offering a one-stop-shop for your every need. 
Verbit partners with businesses around the world to provide accurate, interactive focus group transcription. Contact us to learn how we can support your business and its market research efforts as well.