The Evocative Power of Projective Techniques for the Elicitation of Meaning

  • Caroline Jane Porr Memorial University
  • Maria Mayan University of Alberta
  • Guendalina Graffigna Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano
  • Sarah Wall University of Alberta
  • Edgar Ramos Vieira Florida International University


A unique project was undertaken by doctoral and postdoctoral students, and their mentor, from diverse backgrounds in health and social sciences to explore their past experiences as participants in a qualitative research training initiative called EQUIPP (Enhancing Qualitative Understanding of Illness Processes and Prevention). The purpose of the project was to create a symbolic representation of the EQUIPP program through the use of projective techniques. The authors examined the meaning of engaging in qualitative research training through images and conceptual metaphors that were subsequently consolidated thematically and then portrayed in the form of a newly constructed logo that was developed with the assistance of a professional graphic designer. Projective techniques proved to be a powerful, evocative tool for eliciting meaning and translating concrete experiences into visual discourse. In this paper, the authors discuss how projective techniques were operationalized and consider their broad implications for qualitative research.