Don’t ask them to admit, get them to project • THINK Global Research

 We’ve recently completed a research project where we had to talk to a bunch of teenagers about behaviour which would have potentially gotten them into trouble with their parents. While the standard confidentiality code of practice was communicated to them at the start, it wasn’t hard to sense their reluctance to talk about the topic regardless. They either withdrew completely, or simply told us what they thought we wanted to hear.

But what we really wanted was the truth. The truth about their behavioral patterns, the reality of the environment they’re exposed to, and the internal and external influences that they may feel pressured by.

So we have asked them to project.

Rather than speaking about themselves, we have asked them to speak about friends they know or hypothetical people possessing certain characteristics. And the difference was amazing. They opened up, were looking us straight in the eyes and have talked about the experiences that “their friends” have had in our situations of interest with no reservations. As researchers, we cannot always expect to be trusted. However, we can influence the situations so that the degree of trust becomes less relevant to our mission of uncovering the truth.

Written by:

Kristy Ihle – Managing Director

For further information on THINK Global Research, please contact Kristy Ihle (Managing Director) at

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