Edited by Robin Nunkoo
Chapter 17: The use of projective techniques to circumvent socially desirable responses or reveal the subconscious
Projective techniques have considerable potential to study consumer behaviour and are widely used in commercial market research and psychology, but not in tourism and hospitality research. This chapter demonstrates that tourism and hospitality researchers can collect richer data from smaller samples by using projective techniques, which provide more flexibility and allow the combination of multiple projective methods to triangulate findings. Projective techniques are qualitative methods that reach the subconscious of respondents by asking them to interpret information or complete tasks, which circumvent normative responses that create social desirability bias. Five techniques are outlined: collage, choice ordering, word association, photo elicitation and a scenario expressive technique. The study found that the most successful instrument for reducing social desirability bias was word association, while the least successful was photo-expression. The limitations are the highly resource intensive nature of rigorous analysis, ambiguous stimuli impacting on the complexity of data elicitation and codification, and variations in interpretation of the meaning of the results.
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