Applying projective techniques to formative research in health communication development.
ABSTRACT This article describes a new approach to formative research in which projective techniques commonly used in psychological assessment were adapted for use in focus groups to help design colorectal-cancer screening materials for African American men and women. Participants (N = 20) were divided into six "design teams." Each team was given a selection of design supplies and asked to create and discuss a visual layout for screening materials. Participants chose design elements that reflected visual preferences that they felt would connect meaningfully with other African Americans. The dynamics within the design teams were different than in traditional focus groups, with participants having more control over the group's direction. Using projective techniques helped draw out unique information from participants by allowing them to "project" their opinions onto objects. This approach may be a valuable tool for health-promotion and health-communication practitioners seeking insight on the implicit values of a priority population.