All You Need to Know About Transcribing Focus Groups

All You Need to Know About Transcribing Focus Groups
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Focus groups are very helpful for collecting qualitative and accurate data. They provide a broad range of information, since they generally include a large number of participants from diverse backgrounds. During a research or study, starting with a focus group may be more beneficial than starting with regular interviews. This is why researchers and scholars prefer focus group transcription to store valuable information and data, shared during these group discussions.

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However, transcribing a focus group discussion is different and often very challenging. It is usually tough to distinguish the speakers because of all the different voices, as well asplenty of interjections. Hiring a professional company that offers Transcription services can help you in transcribing focus group discussions. Let’s have a closer look at all of the important aspects related to transcribing focus groups.


It is important that the focus group discussion takes place in a quiet setting. Turn off devices such as fans or air conditioning units that are in the room. Also, make sure that the participants are sitting in a circle or semicircle because it will make it easier to record the conversation. Etiquette is also important. Before starting the group discussion, make sure all of the participants have an understanding of what the focus group etiquette/ground rules are.

How To Record

The best way to record is to use a microphone, which should be put in the middle of the table during a roundtable discussion. You can also pass the microphone around to each individual during the discussion. It may also be helpful to find someone to help you carry out the discussion.

How To Transcribe

You can choose to transcribe using a strict verbatim style. This is where all of the words, phrases, and even noises are recorded. The other style would be to take out all of the fillers, background noises, and repetitions. Your study objective should determine how you choose to transcribe the discussion. If someone uses profane language, makes spelling errors, or mispronounces words, do not try to clean it up.

However, transcribing focus groups is not an easy task to do, which is why it’s always advisable to hire a professional transcription service provider for accurate focus group transcriptions.

Time Stamps

It’s a good idea to insert periodic time stamps into the transcripts. If you have trouble with clarity on one part, you can quickly locate it using the marker provided by these time stamps. They also help you go back to specific parts without having to listen to the entire audio recording. Ask the transcription company to help you with this requirement.

Also Read: Focus Group Transcription

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.