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I am going to conduct interviews as a part of data collection. I want to record the conversation and want to buy a digital recorders. 


I would like to get your feedback/ suggestions on what type of recorder I should buy and how I should go about selecting and using a recorder ? your own experience of recording interview are most welcome. 





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Hi Sushanta

I needed a digital recorder last year to record research interviews, and I was confined to what was available in the local shop - a choice of 3. Plus a restricted budget!  I consulted with the shop assistant, who recommended the Olympus VN-8600PC that was in stock. It cost approx €70.  It is the size of a mobile phone, and looks like one as well.  I adjusted the settings to the 'meeting' option, and set them as loud as possible.  I did some practice recordings at home with family members to begin with, so that I would be familiar with the recorder when I started my research interviews.   I was recording one-to-one interviews, and this worked really well.  My recorder was placed on the table pointing in the direction of the interviewee, and it looked just like another mobile phone on the table, so it was not distracting.   I was worried that I would need an external microphone or some other extras, but so far I have been able to operate without them.  This recorder is battery-operated, and it needed new batteries after 4 hours of recording plus playback for the same length of time.  So a supply of batteries is important.  There are probably better and more elaborate models out there specifically for interview purposes, but I have found that this was a good tool for me to start with.  I woud think that any recognisable brand of digital voice recorder would be as good. The companies seem to upgrade models all the time, so it is a matter of getting one that suits your circumstances.



Hi, I'm glad that you are ahead of me. I actually want  the same mobile  digital recorder.


I will be grateful once again to hear from you.



Richard Gudoi PhD. Student

Corporate governance.

Johannesburg,South Africa

I was going to buy a recorder for 1:1 / 1:2 interviews.  Then I found out my ipod recorded.  I got a mic of ebay for £5.00 and a 59p app for recording.  I have conducted 17 interviews in different situations and they have all worked really well. 


Just a thought, it may be an option (plus ipod's are more useful when your research is finished!)


Yes, you can use OLYMPUS VN-480, but it is not audible enough, though battery consumption is great. The advantage is that you can connect it directly to the Laptop and record directly into your laptop...


I record interviews using my ACER laptop without microphone or any external gadget. I downloaded audacity which is free sound software. When conducting interviews, the trick is to make the interviewee sit near the laptop. You can record long interviews without worrying about anything...This laptop can pick sounds in the environment, you do not to make the interviewee face it...which is an advantage because the chances that your interviewee is afraid of the gadget are less...

Good luck


Hi Sushanta, in Brazil I've been using a cell phone to record digital files....after that I worry about the software.....but only after recording everything with an inexpensive cell phone. So, I think you don't have to worry too much for now.



Thanks a lot for your responses. But It would be good if I get some tips on converting  the interview-discussion  into text for some analysis.    



You don't need to convert anything if you don't want to. Using Atlasti or Nvivo (probably the best ones out there) you can do an analysis of your findings right from your desktop, joining text, images, audio and almost any mean you like.


Have you ever tried?


Please say something if you need any help.



thanks Nuno for the input. I have not tried Atlasti or Nvivo till now and but will explore them soon. It will be a month before I  start recording the interviews. I would be using this time to get some idea on software and other equipments.Thanks a lot for your help. 





Hi Gudoi, try to use even your blackberry. It has the software to ahndle your digital recording.  Regards.

From all the replies, it looks like the newest mobile phones and laptops are capable of recording long interviews.  I would still prefer a dedicated piece of equipment, as it allows the interview material to be stored safely away after the recordings and analysis.  If you use your everyday mobile phone or laptop, how can you give your interviewee a guarantee regarding confidentiality and secure storage for the interview material? My digital recorder stays in a secure place with the other research material. I also have the option to give the recorder to the interviewee to keep at the end of the research process, or to have it archived with the other research material if necessary.  I know I can transfer the interviews on to other devices, but each format requires further security checks to ensure confidentiality. 



Actually, mobile phones can crypt your data and,nowadays, you pass it to the computer with the flashcard, which means that security is improved by using your smartphone. My personal experience tells me so. 





 Really, I do agree with you besides, innovativeness is all needed most of the time to protect oens' research information.


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