Day#358: How to record your research sessions

Day#358: How to record your research sessions

Hey Researchers today I wanted to discuss recording your sessions, this is so important because during the session you want to have multiple ways to go back to your recordings and try and make sense of everything discussed. I tend to see a lot of researchers who like taking notes in the session, this for me is such an issue because I like to focus on the discussion and talking with the participant instead of scribbling my notes. I have seen many talks on meeting etiquette that also advises against note taking because it can often have your head down over your notes while lots is happening that you are missing. Rather focus on the participant and your interaction with them, you can record the session in another fashion that still allows for you to interact casually. For example I tend to focus on having an audio recording of the session for all the research work that I do. 

I let my participant know at the beginning of the session that they will be recorded and I have documentation for them to look at on the NDA policy that they sign etc. On occasion I have printed one NDA, and then told my participant that I will take their approval/decline via the audio instead of sitting with tons of documentation. The signing of the NDA is very crucial on certain projects and not so important on others to have the hard copy. I would say understand the NDA as well so that if your participant has any questions you can help them along by explaining. When I record I use an App on my phone that allows me to record the full session, and name it there after. I then have them stored on my phone till the end of the project and hand them over to the team if they would like to listen to them. I also tend to timestamp points in recordings that I feel really stand out for me, and have a two pen tap for when something really interesting comes across. This helps when I am listening to remind me of the importance of what was just mentioned, it may not work for everyone but this works really well for me. 

Another thing to take note of is that if you are wanting to record video don’t have the video in your participants face. I would have it a little further away so that they don’t feel so self conscious. These sessions can be stressful for people since they don’t know what to expect. And depending on the content it can also get personal, let them start to feel like the camera is just part of the furniture of the room where you are conducting the research instead of them staring at the camera the whole time. Finally before ending off I would go into the room you are conducting the sessions earlier, I once had a really weird experience where I was given a boardroom to use at an agency to prevent biases from participants with holding it at the company I was conducting the research for. Upon having my participant seated and discussing, we noticed a camera in the room. The camera was above the boardroom television obviously used to present content on, what we noticed was the camera moving. It unsettled the participant and he was like is this thing on? Luckily we were not talking about extremely personal topics so it did not make him uncomfortable however I really would advise that you make sure there are no other cameras, and if you are recording in that fashion that your participant is aware and that they give you permission to record like that. To add it was an agency and I found out from the office management that the cameras do that when the televisions come on, I then proceeded to switching it off at the plug and no more issues for the rest of the day. Happy researching until next time.

Bye for now

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