The Use of Projective Techniques in Research

Projective techniques have been found to be used by psychologists, more so to understand the those aspects of the respondents personality that are dormant or rest in the subconscious. In more technical terminology, when I say projective techniques, I mean those techniques that are a part of involving people to respond to indefinite stimuli. It  has its base on the assumption that  If the respondents express their true and inner feelings to the stimuli it would be less threatening than actually verbally talking about them.

These days we see a lot of application of projective techniques into the field of marketing research. It is a very useful technique to probe into the subconscious of the consumer and works better in getting the true expression of the consumer as compared to explicit questioning. These techniques work in a dual application and in the first stage often, the suppressed thoughts in the subconscious are projected and second stage is about the articulation of the not surfaced feelings and thoughts.

The use of projective techniques is not fun all the time and it really depends on certain parameters.  Firstly it depends which techniques are used, what number of these are used and how are they incorporated and put to test.  As a researcher, never do the mistakes of stretching the techniques beyond few hours as the respondents tend to lose their patience and concentration. It also equally important to keep a tab on which is the audience or set of respondents is and then decides the technique accordingly.  For instance imaginative techniques work better with youngsters and verbal expression works better with housewives as compared to written expression. It is always better to introduce the projective techniques intermittently and not back to back continually as in that attempt of greed nothing productive comes out while in-between conversation if these techniques are brought up, they work as boosters.

An inexperienced researcher can do the mistake in execution of these projective techniques. The primary purpose of these techniques is to facilitate the expression but if the transition is not made smooth and fun it can, on the contrary, become a barrier. All the more, the researcher should try to lead by example so the respondent comes in a comfort zone.

 A sensitive perspective towards designing of projective techniques and their execution is always the way to get the right productivity from them.

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