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Projective Techniques

Part 2. Marketing Research

  1. Linda L. Price

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem02055

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Price, L. L. 2010. Projective Techniques. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 2.

Author Information

  1. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Projective techniques use stimuli to allow participants to articulate repressed or withheld feelings by projecting these onto another character or object. However, many researchers also use group enabling techniques in conjunction with projective ones. Enabling techniques are devices that allow the participant to find means of expressing feelings and thoughts they find hard to articulate, and in marketing the difference between the two techniques are blurred. Despite high variance, both techniques show distinct similarity in terms of the research stimuli, and the types of data elicited. Projective techniques rely on indirect questioning, and ambiguous stimuli, allowing for variations in informant responses, and can uncover primary motives as well as latent motives. Both techniques elicit data that is more sensory, emotional, symbolic, metaphorical, and imaginative, and both techniques are relatively free of social desirability bias: indirect questioning and ambiguous stimuli allow informants to express their true, deeper level concerns. Projective and enabling techniques differ both in the quantity of data they elicit and in their response modality, and the skill and experience of the researcher is paramount in constructing a trustworthy account. In deciding whether the use of these techniques will add value, researchers should consider consumer memory, communication, and self-disclosure concerns.


  • qualitative analysis;
  • latent motives;
  • enabling techniques;
  • motivation research;
  • social desirability