Tips for recording research interviews

PhD candidates, professors, lecturers record a great amount of research interviews, because it’s the best way to gather qualitative data for their thesis or dissertation research.  Academic transcription means turning those interviews into text, because no matter how fast you may be in taking notes, you are likely to always miss out on some key details.  An accurate transcript is a great way for researchers to mine important data for their work.  However, accuracy can only go as far as audio quality.  Difficult audio quality also means you pay more, because as the difficulty goes up, so does the time and effort.  Below are our best tips to record research interviews, so you can save money by taking care of things at your end.

1. Interview Environment:

quiet room for recording, academic transcription, recording for transcription, transcription recording

Looks cozy, doesn’t it?  That not only ensures you’re safe from any bear attacks, but that you record interviews in the quietest environment, resulting in the best possible audio quality, and pay the least amount possible.  It makes our day better too.  Too many times clients forget that recording their research interviews at a busy restaurant, coffee shop, airport, Iron Maiden concert etc. can affect the overall outcome of their dissertation.  Not only are they missing important details, but they’re wasting money.  They might even be wasting time, if they have to re-record the interview because the speakers are barely audible.

2. Interview equipment:

Lots of handy recording apps these days for whichever smartphone ecosystem you’re on, whether it’s iOS, Android or Windows.  We’re going to ignore BlackBerry for now as it’s obsolete.  While apps are certainly good for a one-time affair, but if you’re going to be recording more often, it’s a good idea to invest in a digital recorder, something that looks like this:

You see that massive microphone on top?  That’s highly sensitive, and can pick up the interviewee’s voice much clearer than a smartphone microphone can.  Plus they come with good enough storage, record into MP3, and are all around great value for money, especially like I said, if you will be doing this more often.

3. Interview Participant:

interview participant, transcription interviewee, research interview participant

If your interviewee insists on talking while wearing a mask or a scarf on his face, you can’t really do much about it, can you?  BUT if they’re not running from the law or are a Klan leader, you can ask them to speak in a clear, intelligible, concise manner and enunciate better.  Sometimes the audio quality can be top-notch, but if the speaker talks under their breath, away from the microphone, running through their words, or in some annoying slang, it’s up to you to take control of the interview.  Sure, we love challenges, but this is about you saving money on transcription.  Don’t you want that shiny new smartphone?

Follow these guidelines and keep these tips to record research interviews in mind, and you will never pay an extra penny for difficult audio.  Also find an experienced academic transcription service such as ours. 😉

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