Carrying on academic research whilst self-isolating due to pandemic sounds like something you would start a novel with, but in 2020 it became the new reality for a few months!
One of the main difficulties is knowing what software and hardware to use in order to complete interviews for a project and this is the focus of our article.
Recording your Interview
It is extremely easy to complete a recording for a piece of research when you have both parties in the same room and you can simply put an iphone in the middle of a table and record the interviews. Unfortunately this is not often the case when you are conducting the interviews remotely. Furthermore, although there are a range of software options most research interviews will be completed with a subject who may just have a landline telephone, mobile phone or laptop. So what is the best way to get your interview recorded using a phone?
Zoom Video Conferencing
We think that Zoom may be the best option. Whilst there is an app for iPhone and iPad called Call Recorder Lite and an app called Call Recorder for Android, these have terrible reviews by a number of customers.
Zoom is the video conferencing software that appears to be taking over the market from Skype. You can opt to join a meeting by dialing in on your phone. It is very easy to do and there is a guide here:
Zoom allows you to conduct your interview and then automatically store the recording of your interview on your device. You can then follow the instructions here to upload the recording to us for transcription.
Tips for Recording
Get the preliminaries out of the way before you start recording. It is amazing how much time can be spent discussing the weather, travel, state of the world etc.. prior to the commencement of an interview when you are not face to face.
Ensure that you have not got any other distractions in front of you. It is hard to concentrate on the conversation with the other party if you are looking at your email as well or reading the paper.
Do a test run before completing your first remote interview. We regularly get sent a first recording from a long term project where the audio is not working.
Total silence – if you are self-isolating, make sure the children and other family members are aware that you are going to be on speaker phone essentially for up to an hour or more. Working from home can be interesting at times when it comes to distractions!
Charge your phone and tell your subject to charge theirs. Before you commence the interview, whether you are using landlines (digital) or mobiles, make sure the phone is charged before you start the session.
Keep track of your recordings – note down details of who, what, when, where. It is too easy to lose track of your work, particularly when you are using a phone. Getting a copy uploaded to TP Transcription asap means that you also have backup and security knowing that your work is safely transcribed and ready to use.