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Qualitative Techniques: Projective Techniques, Depth Interviews, Experience survey, Focus groups, Observation

  1. Projective Techniques

Projective Techniques are indirect and unstructured methods of investigation which have been developed by the psychologists and use projection of respondents for inferring about underline motives, urges or intentions which cannot be secure through direct questioning as the respondent either resists to reveal them or is unable to figure out himself. These techniques are useful in giving respondents opportunities to express their attitudes without personal embarrassment. These techniques helps the respondents to project his own attitude and feelings unconsciously on the subject under study. Thus Projective Techniques play a important role in motivational researches or in attitude surveys.

Important Projective Techniques

(I) Word Association Test.

(II) Completion Test.

(III) Construction Techniques

(IV) Expression Techniques

(I) Word Association Test: An individual is given a clue or hint and asked to respond to the first thing that comes to mind. The association can take the shape of a picture or a word. There can be many interpretations of the same thing. A list of words is given and you don’t know in which word they are most interested. The interviewer records the responses which reveal the inner feeling of the respondents. The frequency with which any word is given a response and the amount of time that elapses before the response is given are important for the researcher. For eg: Out of 50 respondents 20 people associate the word “ Fair” with “Complexion”.

(II) Completion Test: In this the respondents are asked to complete an incomplete sentence or story. The completion will reflect their attitude and state of mind.

(III) Construction Test: This is more or less like completion test. They can give you a picture and you are asked to write a story about it. The initial structure is limited and not detailed like the completion test. For eg: 2 cartoons are given and a dialogue is to written.

(IV) Expression Techniques: In this the people are asked to express the feeling or attitude of other people.

Disadvantages of Projective Techniques

  • Highly trained interviewers and skilled interpreters are needed.
  • Interpreter’s bias can be there.
  • It is a costly method.
  • The respondent selected may not be representative of the entire population.
  1. Depth Interviews

A qualitative data collection method, in-depth interviews offer the opportunity to capture rich, descriptive data about people’s behaviors, attitudes and perceptions, and unfolding complex processes. They can be used as a standalone research method or as part of a multi method design, depending on the needs of the research.

How is an in depth interview carried out?

In depth interviews are normally carried out face to face so that a rapport can be created with respondents. Body language is also used to add a high level of understanding to the answers. Telephones can also be used by a skilled researcher with little loss of data and at a tenth of the cost.

The style of the interview depends on the interviewer. Successful in-depth interviewers listen rather than talk. They have a clear line of questioning and use body language to build rapport.

  1. Experience Survey

Most often taking the form of a text box in a survey, open-ended questions allow your respondents to provide a unique answer (as opposed to providing a list of predetermined responses to select from). This approach gives respondents the freedom to say exactly what they feel about a topic, which provides you with exploratory data that may reveal unforeseen opportunities, issues, or quotes. You can then use this information to support the hard numbers you’ve collected in the survey. Often it is these quotes or examples that create more powerful statements than many averages and percentages.

  1. Focus Groups

Usually done in person or online, a focus group asks a small group of people to discuss their thoughts on a given subject. A focus group allows you to gauge the reactions of a small number of your target audience in a controlled but free-flowing group discussion. This form of research is a great way to test how your target audience would perceive a new product or marketing strategy.

  1. Observational Research

This approach involves observing customers or people in their actual element. A perfect example would be watching shoppers while they visit your store. How long does it take them to find what they are looking for? Do they look comfortable interacting with your staff? Where do they go first, second? When do they leave without making a purchase? These real-world observations can lead you to findings that more direct forms of research, like focus groups and interviews, would miss.

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