Projective Techniques

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International Journal of Market Research Vol. 47 Issue 3

Projective techniques in market research: valueless subjectivity or insightful reality?
A look at the evidence for the usefulness, reliability and validity of projective techniques in market research
Clive Boddy
Middlesex University Business School

Projective techniques are often used in market research to help uncover findings in areas where those researched are thought to be reluctant or unable to expose their thoughts and feelings via more straightforward questioning techniques. However, how the findings from projective techniques are analysed and how valid and reliable they are is hardly touched on at all in the market research literature. This paper aims to open this subject up for further discussion and recommends further research into the reliability and validity of projective techniques.

Question: So how do you actually analyse projective techniques? Researcher says: Years of experience in using them and my training as a qualitative researcher has left me with an intuitive knowledge of what people mean when they perform a task in a certain way. (Researcher thinks: I’m tired out after the last group, please ask me an easier question!)

Introduction
For the past quarter-century there has been a growing use of and interest in qualitative market research (Fram & Cibotti 1991; Miller 1991; Catterall 1998) and the concomitant use of projective and enabling techniques (Miller 1991) within it. A review of projective techniques in market research and their analyses, validity and reliability is therefore, arguably, overdue.

© 2005 The Market Research Society

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Projective techniques in market research

Catterall (1998) notes that the way market research is taught is functionalist, technical and narrow-minded, as if market research does not exist within the wider world of historical and societal events. It is perhaps not surprising, then, given this vocational training background,



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