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Recording vs. Taking Notes. Which One to Choose?

Andrew Russo
Andrew Russo
Posted in Zoom Mar 27 · 30 Mar, 2023
Recording vs. Taking Notes. Which One to Choose?

When conducting interviews, two common methods for capturing the information discussed are recording the interview or taking notes. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and choosing which one to use depends on several factors. In this article, we will compare recording interviews to taking notes and help you determine which is best for your needs.

Recording Interviews

Recording an interview involves using a device to capture the entire conversation. This method is often favored because it accurately represents the interviewee's words and tone. It also allows the interviewer to focus solely on the discussion at hand without worrying about taking interview notes.

Below are some of the benefits of recording interviews:

Accuracy: Recorded interviews provide a more accurate account of what was said during the interview. This is especially important when discussing complex topics that require precise language or when the interviewee has a heavy accent or speaks too fast.

  • Convenience: Recording interviews is a convenient way to capture information. It allows the interviewer to be in the moment without worrying about taking notes, which can be distracting.

However, there are some downsides to recording interviews that you should consider.

  • Technical difficulties: Recording interviews can be fraught with technical problems. The equipment can malfunction, the sound quality can be poor, or there could be background noise that makes it difficult to hear the conversation. Furthermore, if the interview is required in print form, you will have to engage recording transcription services for the session. 

  • Time-consuming: Reviewing a recorded interview takes time. It could take several hours to review the recording, depending on the interview length.

Taking Notes 

Taking notes during an interview involves writing down key points from the conversation as it happens. This method is often favored because it allows the interviewer to capture information quickly and efficiently. Below are key points showing the importance of interview notes.

  • Control: Taking notes during interviews gives the interviewer more control over the information being gathered. They can choose which points to highlight and organize the text in a way that makes sense.

  • Efficiency: Taking notes during interviews is an efficient way to capture information. It is much quicker than listening to a recorded interview and can be done in real-time.

  • Privacy: Taking notes during interviews is a private way to capture information. There is no risk of the data being overheard or recorded without the interviewee's consent.

However, there are also some downsides to taking notes in interviews that you should consider.

  • Inaccuracy: Taking notes during interviews can lead to inaccurate data collection if the interviewer misses a key point or misinterprets what was said.

  • Limited information: Taking notes during interviews only captures the information the interviewer considers essential, which means some nuances and details may be lost.

Which Method Should You Choose?

After considering the pros and cons of recording interviews versus taking notes, it is clear that neither method is perfect. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on the specific needs of the interviewer.

For example, recording the interview might be the best choice if accuracy is the top priority. But if efficiency and privacy are essential, taking notes could be the better option. It's also important to consider factors such as the length of the interview, the complexity of the topic, and personal preferences.