Deeply held attitudes and motivations are often not verbalized by respondents when questioned directly. Indeed, respondents may not even be aware that they hold these particular attitudes, or may feel that their motivations reflect badly on them. Projective techniques allow respondents to project their subjective or true opinions and beliefs onto other people or even objects. The respondent's real feelings are then inferred from what s/he says about others.
Projective techniques are normally used during individual or small group interviews. They incorporate a number of different research methods. Among the most commonly used are:
- Word association test
- Sentence completion test
- Thematic apperception test (TAT)
- Third-person techniques
While deceptively simple, projective techniques often require the expertise of a trained psychologist to help devise the tests and interpret them correctly.
Related Readings (Kumar, V., Aaker, D.A. & Day, G.S. (1999). Essentials of Marketing Research. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; Rotenberg, R.H. (1995). A Manager's Guide to Marketing Research, Toronto: Dryden; Zikmund, W.G. (1997). Exploring Marketing Research, 6th edition. Orlando: The Dryden Press)