Microsoft Teams for Research

For those interested in hosting large scale events/conferences,  you may be interested in What is the difference between Teams and Teams Live?


This page covers three aspects that may interest researchers.

  1. Using Teams as a collaborative space to work with other researchers (both within and outside the University)
  2. Conducting interviews with Microsoft Teams
  3. Hosting research events & seminars with Microsoft Teams Live


1. Using Teams as a collaborative space to work with other researchers (both within and outside the University)

Teams is built as a collaborative tool, and so provides the perfect tool to work collaboratively with others.  A Team is effectively an online space for collaborative working, file sharing, and a place to host video meetings. Both  staff and students can create these Teams. A workflow that is useful here is:

  1. Create a Team
  2. Add members to the team (from the university).
  3. Add Guests (external users)

Those added from outside the university as ‘guests’ will have most of the same privileges as university staff and students. The main omission is that guests cannot start/stop recordings of video meetings, nor can they watch recordings. More details about Guest privileges here.

2. Conducting Interviews/Focus Groups with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is useful for 1:1 interviews and focus groups with people external from the university, as well as meetings with staff and students

There are various suggested workflows listed below. All workflows allow a researcher to use Microsoft Teams to host and record a video call.

Option A – use the Chat feature to conduct a 1:1 call with a registered Skype user

This option is useful if you are interviewing a single user who is registered with Skype. You simply access the Chat tool in Microsoft Teams, enter the email address linked to the user’s Skype account, and call. The functionality to record the session and use audio, video, chat, and screen sharing are available.


Option  B – Create a specific Team for each interviewee/focus group and enrol interviewees as ‘guests’

This option requires your interviewees to sign up for a guest Microsoft Teams account but gives your interviewees access to most Teams features. So for example, not only can you conduct a video call with each interviewee, but make use of the conversation feature within the team at any time, which may be part of your planned data collection. The drawback of this method is that interviewees will have to sign up for a free Teams account before being able to join a meeting, and you will need to manage a team for every interviewee. You can find out more about creating a Team or adding external users to a Team on this site.


Option C – Create only one team for your interviews, and only invite interviewees to a specific video call

Please note: this workflow is due to be amended in Nov/Dec 2020 with a new calendar feature being released. This page will be updated soon.

It is possible to invite any external user to join a video call within a team, without adding them to the Team. This is potentially useful as it doesn’t require interviewees to sign up for anything – they simply receive an invite link to the call and can join with their internet browser. you can also repurpose the same Team for all your interviews, as interviewees are not given access to the team, just access to the specific video call you invited them to. The drawback of this method is the functionality – interviewees joining a meeting this way can only use audio/video and screen share, they cannot access the conversation features (text chat). You are also unable to schedule meeting links in advance, so you would need to send the joining link once the video call had started. You can find out more about creating a Team on this site.



Transcripts from Recorded Interviews

It is possible to produce an automated written transcription from a Teams video recording. This applies to any of the options mentioned above for hosting a Teams video call.

When you record a Teams meeting, it is saved in Microsoft Stream. The transcript and captioning will not work by default. The video owner (who initiated the recording, i.e. in this case the researcher) has to go to Microsoft Stream, find and edit the video, set the video language, and then ensure captioning is required.  Once this has been done, the captions file and transcript should appear. Details on how to do this are here:

It is also possible to download a captions (transcript) file, which could then be worked into a suitable file for qualitative analysis. We would first recommend check the accuracy of the captions and before downloading the captions file.

Once you have downloaded the captions file, you’ll notice it contains a lot of data that probably isn’t required for your analysis. To ‘clean’ the file, you can use Microsofts Stream  transcript VTT file cleaner to simply extract the text from the file. This text can then be copied into a Microsoft word document or another program for analysis.

Whilst this workflow does take a little time, it is of course much quicker than transcribing a meeting by hand.


Security of data

Our recommendations are:

  • Any Teams video recordings (and transcript files if required) should be downloaded from Microsoft Stream and stored in your personal Onedrive. Recordings can then be deleted from Microsoft Stream
  • Any Teams used to gather research should be deleted once data collection is complete.


Consent to recording

As with any interview, you must obtain consent prior to recording. Whilst Teams does display an automated message letting users know they are being recorded, this is not a replacement for gathering written consent from participants.

3. Hosting research events & seminars with Microsoft Teams Live

‘Teams Live’ is an extension of Microsoft Teams, used for large scale events such as public research seminars, conferences and events. Teams Live will be launched at the University in September 2020. Unlike Teams, Teams Live allows up to 10,000 users to join a video meeting, and users can join by simply clicking a link (no teams account required). However, Teams Live is designed as a broadcasting tool, and limited audience interaction is available.


Teams Live

Number of attendees that can  join a call/event​



Interaction options for attendees​

Audio, Text chat,

file sharing, polling…..

Q&A only 

Multiple presenters



External users






*: Microsoft have announced  that in Summer 2020 up to 1000 users can join a single Teams video call

*1​: Teams recordings save in Microsoft Stream, and cannot be shared outside the University. However, you can download a copy of the recording and share publicly via Panopto.

If you are interested in using Teams Live for an event, please contact Gill Ure in marketing to arrange training and support.

Advice for planning your Teams Live events and roles

Skip to toolbar