7 projective techniques for qualitative analysis

Delving into what people think and do not verbalize is often a complex task. The qualitative analyst is the expert to address this type of information need. Unlike quantitative analysis that requires a high number of respondents and predefined questions with pre-coded responses (in several cases), qualitative analysis seeks to learn about ideas through flexible, unstructured and open interviews.

Since it is not advisable to pose such direct questions to the participants of qualitative studies, respondents are usually invited to carry out exercises that, indirectly, allow the analyst to investigate what people perceive and do not know how to express with words . We share with you seven exercises on qualitative techniques that will be useful when conducting this type of research.

  1. Grouping. Session participants are presented to organize the items in a list into sets. Once they are grouped, the criteria used to assign this or that element to a group are investigated.
  2. Describe as a person. In this exercise, respondents are asked to describe an item as if it were a person. They are asked to define their gender, their appearance, their personality, their lifestyle, their values, etc.
  3. Short definition. It consists of asking the participants to describe a given element in a few words (it can be three or five adjectives). Adjectives can be completely free or limited to specific categories: physical appearance, personality, emotions, among others.
  4. Recommendation. Respondents are invited to argue in their own words to whom and why they would recommend using, knowing or using a certain item of interest.
  5. Mind maps. This activity usually requires inputs such as a blackboard, flip chart or a collaborative work application in which the participants design an outline of ideas and connectors about the element under study.
  6. Collage. Respondents will design a montage of cutouts that represents what they perceive or think of an item. For face-to-face sessions, magazines, newspapers, colored paper, glue and scissors will be used. For virtual sessions you can use a drawing application or ask each participant to make their collage wherever they are.
  7. Complete / Make sentences. Whether incomplete sentences are proposed or created from scratch, participants are invited to complete or make short sentences based on their experience or expectation of a given item.

It should be noted that the responses to these techniques require an experienced moderator to ensure that the participants in qualitative study sessions are able to express themselves in the most spontaneous and natural way possible. In this way, it is ensured that the findings best represent the ideas, emotions and feelings that people tend to keep silent in other circumstances.

Likewise, it should be remembered that the ideas obtained during these exercises require the interpretation of the qualitative analyst. Based on her experience, this will outline the data and information that can later be used for decision-making. At Acertiva, we have experts in qualitative techniques ready to meet your market research needs. Contact us and discover how we can be your allies in your next study.