A focus group discussion allows a group of 8 – 12 informants to freely discuss a certain subject with the guidance of a facilitator or reporter. (See Module 10C for a discussion of this technique.)
6. Projective techniques
When a researcher uses projective techniques, (s)he asks an informant to react to some kind of visual or verbal stimulus.
For example: An informant may be provided with a rough outline of the body and be asked to draw her or his perception of the conception or onset of an illness.
Another example of a projective technique is the presentation of a hypothetical question or an incomplete sentence or case/study to an informant (‘story with a gap’). A researcher may ask the informant to complete in writing sentences such as:
- If I were to discover that my neighbour had TB, I would . . .;
- If my wife were to propose that I use condoms, I would . . .
Or (s)he may ask the informant: Suppose your child suffered from diarrhoea, what would you do?
Such techniques can easily be combined with semi-structured interviews or written questionnaires. They are also very useful in FGDs to get people’s opinion on sensitive issues.