Speech recognition and language analysis of spontaneous speech arising in naturally spoken conversations are becoming the subject of much research. However, there is a shortage of spontaneous speech corpora that are freely available for academics. We therefore undertook the building of a natural conversation speech database, recording over 200 hours of conversations in English by over 600 local university students. With few exceptions, the students used their own cell phones from their own rooms or homes to speak to one another, and they were permitted to speak on any topic they chose. Although they knew that they were being recorded and that they would receive a small payment, their conversations in the corpus are probably very close to being natural and spontaneous. This paper describes a detailed case study of the problems we faced and the methods we used to make the recordings and control the collection of these social science data on a limited budget.