I spy with my little eye: A comparison of manual versus computer-aided analysis of data gathered by projective techniques

Heather Skinner, Lorraine Davidson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The paper arose from an experienced qualitative market researcher’s desire to challenge her working methodologies in analysing and interpreting data for commercial clients. Faced with tight deadlines, and working largely on her own, the researcher wished to consider if alternative working practices might be worth the necessary time investment and if outputs could actually be enhanced.

    This paper compares the results of projective techniques of qualitative data collection analysed manually with computer-aided analysis of the same data. Four focus groups were set up. Various creative and projective techniques were incorporated into the groups in order to explore and test the boundaries of both the manual and computer-based analysis data to the full.

    The organisation of data was aided by the use of CAQDAS file management structure, but a general overview of the results was somewhat lost to the researcher. Moreover, visual rather than textual data do not lend itself to computer-aided analysis, minimising their utility in analysing results from a wide range of projective techniques.

    Research limitations/implications
    While the objectivity of this introspective, reflective approach may be questionable, using a separate researcher to undertake different methods was neither deemed to enable a direct comparison of the process nor the experience, as seen reflectively through the eyes of the same researcher.

    Practical implications
    Insights can benefit other commercial market researchers who may be considering using CAQDAS.

    The paper explores the analysis of data gathered using projective techniques – a recognised gap in the literature.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)441 - 459
    Number of pages18
    JournalQualitative Market Research – an international journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


    • qualitative methods
    • data analysis
    • market research


    Dive into the research topics of 'I spy with my little eye: A comparison of manual versus computer-aided analysis of data gathered by projective techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this