The use of projective techniques in qualitative marketing research has become an accepted as well as expected practice in the industry. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews (whether face-to-face or online) are particularly suitable for activities that go beyond the question-response format. There are any number of reasons for using projective techniques but they essentially boil down to something similar to the statement from AQR: “What these techniques have in common is that they enable participants to say more about the research subject than they can say spontaneously, accessing thoughts, feelings or meanings which are not immediately available.” Or, something along the lines of tearing down walls as from Applied Marketing Research: “Projective techniques are important in breaking through the wall of rationalizations consumers use on a daily basis to justify the purchase or likes/dislikes of products or brands.”
Projective techniques come in a variety of flavors. In addition to those listed on the AQR site – collage, personification, bubble drawing, role playing, etc. – there is also guided imagery, picture sorts, sentence completion, tarot cards, and more. The types of projective techniques used by researchers has grown over the years (and continues to grow), primarily because many researchers believe (although, I am not one of them) that there is no limit to what is acceptable as a projective technique, and online resources such as Pinterest have broadened the projective possibilities.
Researchers have promoted and defended their use of projective techniques based on the ability to tap into the less-public portion of people’s minds and thereby gain a ‘truer’ picture Read Full Text