I spy with my little eye

Lorraine Davidson (Freelance Marketing Limited, Richmond, UK)
Heather Skinner (Glamorgan Business School, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, UK)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Publication date: 7 September 2010



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.



Davidson, L. and Skinner, H. (2010), "I spy with my little eye", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 441-459. https://doi.org/10.1108/13522751011078845

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