A study was performed for a commercial airline to understand why some people do not fly. When the respondents were asked, “Are you afraid to fly?” very few people said yes. The major reasons given for not flying were cost, inconvenience, and delays caused by bad weather. However, it was suspected that the answers were heavily influenced by the need to give socially desirable responses. Therefore, a follow-up study was done. In the second study, the respondents were asked, “00 you think your neighbor is afraid to fly?” The answers indicated that most of the neighbors who traveled by some other means of transportation were afraid to fly
The fear of flying increased after the high jacking of September 1\,2001. The Air Transport Association (ATA) reported that passenger emplacements, the number of ticketed passengers that board the airplane, were down. However, Continental Airlines, which addressed the fear of flying by stressing. heightened security measures and enhanced cabin comforts for passengers, suffered a much lower drop in passenger enplanements
Advantages and Disadvantages of Projective Techniques
Projective techniques have a major advantage over the unstructured direct techniques (focus groups and depth interviews): They may elicit responses that subjects would be unwilling or unable to give if they knew the purpose of the study. At times, in direct questioning, the respondent may intentionally or unintentionally misunderstand, misinterpret, or mislead the researcher .
In these cases. projective techniques can increase the validity of responses by disguising the purpose. This is particularly true when the issues to be addressed are personal. sensitive, or subject to strong social norms, Projective techniques are also helpful when underlying motivations. beliefs, and attitudes are operating at a subconscious level
Projective techniques suffer from many of the disadvantages of unstructured direct techniques, but to a greater extent. These techniques generally require personal interviews with highly trained interviewers. Skilled interpreters are also required to analyze the responses. Hence, they tend to be expensive. Furthermore, there is a serious risk of interpretation bias. With the exception of word association. all techniques are open ended. making the analysis and interpretation difficult and subjective. Somc projective techniques, such as rule playing. require respondents to engage in unusual behavior. In such cases, the researcher may assume that respondents who agree to participate are themselves unusual in some way. Therefore, they may not be representative of the population of interest.
Applications of Projective Techniques
Projective techniques are used less frequently than unstructured direct methods (focus groups and depth interviews). A possible exception may be word association. which is used commonly to test
brand names and occasionally to measure attitudes about particular products, brands. packages, or advertisements. As the examples have shown. projective techniques can be used in a variety of situations. The usefulness of these techniques is enhanced when the following guidelines are observed.
1. Projective techniques should be used because the required information cannot be accurately obtained by direct methods.
2. Projective techniques should be used for exploratory research to gain initial insights and understanding.
3. Given their complexi projective techniques should not be used naively.
Just the Facts, Please
Just The Facts. Inc. consults with clients in areas such as competitive intelligence and marketing research. In one of the projects in the education field. for example. four suburban high school districts and a community college had created a student careers program. However. the student interest level and image of the program was not encouraging involvement or achieving significant participation among the intended target audience.
JTF Consulting Associate swere given the assignment of determining why participation levels were so low, and what could be done to improve the program’s appeal. TIley conducted focus groups. depth interviews. and sentence completion techniques with those involved in the program: teachers. guidance counselors, students. parents. and administrator
1. Discuss the role of qualitative research in the Sears project.
2. Given the qualitative research objectives. develop a focus group discussion guide.
3. Illustrate the use of laddering, hidden issue questioning. and symbolic analysis in conducting depth interviews for Sears.
4. How can expressive techniques be used to determine underlying attitudes toward Sears
Analysis of Qualitative Data
Compared to quantitative research, where numbers and what they stand for are the units of analysis, qualitative data analysis uses words as the units of analysis and is guided by fewer universal rules and standard procedures. The goal in qualitative research is to decipher. examine, and interpret meaningful patterns or themes that emerge out of the data. The “meaningfulness” of patterns and themes is determined by the research question at hand. There are three general steps that should be followed when analyzing qualitative data
1. Data reduction. In this step, the researcher chooses which aspects of the data are emphasized, minimized. or set aside for the project at hand.
2. Data display. In this step, the researcher develops a visual interpretation of the data with the use of such tools as a diagram, chart, or matrix. The display helps to illuminate partens and interrelationships in the data. )
3. Conclusion drawing and verification. In this step, the researcher considers the meaning of analyzed data and assess implications for the research question at hand.
Qualitative Data Analysis Software
1. Evaluate the “user friendliness” of the two packages. How hard is the program to learn? How easy is the program to use? Do you think the time and effort required to gain an understanding of the program is worth it?
2. Evaluate the availability and usefulness of the support material available on the Web site. How good are the manuals or other documentation? Are tutorials and other technical support available and easy to navigate?
3. Do the programs allow you to produce visual displays such as matrix displays, semantic networks, or hierarchical diagrams
Because the researcher is often not familiar with the foreign product market to be examined, qualitative research is crucial in international marketing research. In the initial stages of cross-national research, qualitative research can provide insights into the problem and help in developing an approach by generating relevant research questions and hypotheses, models, and characteristics that influence the research design. Thus, qualitative research may reveal the differences between the foreign and domestic markets. Focus groups can be used in many settings, particularly in industrialized countries. However, professional standards and practices may vary from the United States. For example, in Mexico it is considered acceptable for recruiters to invite family and friends to participate in a focus group. In some countries like India and Bolivia, due to lack of proper facilities, focus groups are held in hotels with closed-circuit monitoring. The moderator should not only be trained in focus group methodology but should also be familiar with the language, culture, and patterns of social interaction prevailing in that country. The focus group findings should be derived not only from the verbal contents but also from nonverbal cues like voice intonations, inflections, expressions, and gestures.
The size of the focus group could also vary. For example, in Asia seven respondents produce the highest level of interaction among group members. In some regions, such as in the Middle or Far East, people are hesitant to discuss their feelings in a group setting. In other countries such as Japan, people think it is impolite to disagree with others publicly, In these cases, depth interviews should be used. Moreover, qualitative data that are generated should be interpreted in the context of the culture. The following example highlights the importance of cultural differences in qualitative research.
Bugs Bug British
Culture is a very important determinant of qualitative research, such as focus groups, should be . conducted. In focus in Britain, it is not easy to make a housewife admit her house has cockroaches. To do this, the moderator must reassure her 11_ everyone else has the problem too. In France, just ,he opposite occurs: The respondents start to chatter away about cockroaches within seconds of sitting down. These cultural attitudes greatly influence which qualitative research techniques should be used, how they should be implemented, and how the data should be interpreted
The use of projective techniques in international marketing research should be carefully considered. Association techniques (word association), completion techniques (sentence completion, story completion), and expressive techniques (role playing, third-person technique) involve the use of verbal cues. Construction techniques (picture response and cartoon tests) employ nonverbal stimuli (pictures). Whether verbal or nonverbal stimuli are used, the equivalence of meaning across the cultures should be established. This can be a difficult task if the horticultural environments in which the research is conducted vary greatly. Establishing the equivalence of pictures can be particularly problematic. Line drawings are subject to fewer. problems of interpretation than photographs. The specific techniques that are used and how the results are communicated should take into account the cultural aspects and the nature of the problem being addressed, as illustrated in the following example.