The role of notetaker during an interview is a critical task for pulling meaning from the conversations we have. You’re listening for intention and motivation as well as actions and expectations. The moderator may be taking notes but their primary goal is to guide the conversation.
Read through the script so you’re aware of the overall flow of the conversation. You may want to make a copy of the script, or print it out, and take notes directly in the script, or you could just take raw notes.
As a note-taker, your primary goal is to listen. The moderator is responsible for guiding the conversation, and you’re responsible for recording as much of that conversation as possible. This doesn’t mean writing everything down verbatim—sessions are recorded so this isn’t necessary. You want to listen for insights: motivations, impressions, emotions, pain points, successes, philosophies, etc.
Make note of non-verbal cues
People express things in lots of different ways. If video is enabled, it’s great to record non-verbal cues you may catch. For instance, if a user makes a frowny face while talking about a particular task, that may indicate additional frustration. If they become really animated and start waving hands while talking about something else, that may indicate passion.
Be on the lookout for quotes
Quotes are a great way to share what we learned with the team and later with the company at large. During the interview keep an ear out open for 1-3 meaningful defining from the participant. Something that captures a belief, moment, mood, or emotion.
Jot down times
Since sessions will be recorded, you don’t need to worry about getting everything transcribed verbatim. If something interesting comes up and you don’t have time to transcribe, just make a note of the time, and you can go back and re-watch the interaction later.