Are projective techniques reliable, valid and useful?

Often the people who are researched hide their true feelings and thoughts due to embarrassment and fear when asked direct questions. Projective techniques are mechanisms where people unconsciously attribute their own negative trait to others. The common variants of projective techniques are:

  • Rorschach
  • Holtzman Inkblot Test
  • Thematic apperception test
  • Draw-A-Person test
  • Animal Metaphor Test
  •  Sentence completion test
  • Picture Arrangement Test
  • Word Association Test
  • Graphology

Projective techniques can be used in a variety of market research situations as well as in social and educational research and these do not have to be aiming at uncovering aspects of personality of any great depth. However the reliability and validity of these techniques is a matter of debate. There are many controversies regarding whether different researcher draw the same conclusion from the same set of results and whether their research actually measures truly what it claims to measure. Subjectivity of the researcher make the use of this technique unreliable because the researchers are able to obtain similar responses from those who are researched but their interpretation greatly varies due to different skills being possessed by different researchers. In a 1996 paper on projective and enabling techniques, Will et al. doubted the ability of the projective techniques to tap into the consumers’ subconscious. He said that these techniques just created grounds for open and uninhibited discussion. However most of the reports by market research practitioners praised these techniques for their ability to help researchers get valuable psychological information from the research participants which the participants otherwise would not have shared or they themselves are consciously unaware of.


Shaily Agrawal_SecA_PGP13051_Group9


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