Thinking of transcribing your next focus group?

Think again! Anyone who has moderated, viewed or participated in a focus group or meeting will tell you that communication is often non-verbal. Mehrabian’s research shows that up to 93% of what is ‘said’ in conversations is through body language and tone of voice.¹ Transcribing focus groups is not only resource-intensive, but it could change the direction or focus of your analysis by missing things like inflections and hand movements. What’s more, focus group transcripts don’t capture the volume and emotion of discussions, or the extent to which disagreements were debated and defended.

So, next time you’re moderating a focus group, note down any trends or outliers you come across during the group, and then produce a great summary from your reflections while the information is still fresh.

¹ Mehrabian, A. (1981). Silent messages: Implicit communication of emotions and attitudes. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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