Introduction to Public Relations
Week 6:
Research: Understanding Public Opinion

McGraw-Hill/Irwin

Copyright © 2012 McGra...
5-2

PART TWO: THE PROCESS
Week 6 Chap. 5, focus is…
RESEARCH STRATEGIES
We will study why
research is important in
public...
5-3

Today’s Learning Objectives are…


Know what types of research techniques are used
by public relations practitioners...
5-4

What Is Research?
Research in public relations is a cyclical process through
which practitioners:

•
•

Monitor the e...
5-5

What Research
Can Do

1) Monitor
Environment

2) Identify & Track
Events

3) Measure
Productivity

4) Enhance Efficie...
5-6

The Role of Research
Research enables practitioners to:

•

Identify and define publics involved in specific
problems...
5-7

Questions to Begin Research
• What preliminary

research is needed?

• Which formal

research techniques
do you need?...
5-8

Preliminary Research
We often begin by doing Informal (secondary/nonscientific)
research such as:
•Libraries
•Databas...
5-9

Libraries
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Academic journals
Government documents
Directories and reference works
Professional and tra...
5-10

Databases
• Academic Universe [consisting primarily of periodicals]
• Dialog [a gateway to hundreds of databases – t...
5-11

THE INTERNET
PROVIDES ACCESS TO
…

• Search engines

• Online publishers/encyclopedias (Wikipedia,

About.com, Ask.c...
5-12

Governmental Agencies

•

Information compiled by governmental agencies at
all levels is accessible via the Internet...
5-13

Professional And Business
Organizations
Many organizations maintain Web sites that
may contain …
• Survey data deali...
5-14

Preliminary Research
Techniques
•

Analyzing file records or news clippings

•

Interviewing key contacts (salespeop...
5-15

Using Recorded Information
Personnel
Records
Sales Records
Production
Records
Sales Records

Here are some various
t...
5-16

Regulatory, Governmental Records
Every organization operates under Federal,
state, county and municipal regulations....
5-17

Centers of Influence
•
•
•

Elected and appointed officials of all governments

•

Clergymen, educators and leading ...
5-18

SPECIAL COMMITTEES IN
PUBLIC RELATIONS
Decision makers and opinion leaders can be
assembled regularly or on an ad ho...
5-19

FOCUS GROUPS ARE …
•
•

Most commonly used in qualitative
research.
Usually composed of small numbers of
individuals...
5-20

Use Open-ended Questions with
Focus Groups
•

•

Interviewed using openended questions to
prompt interaction and
gai...
5-21

Casual Monitoring

•

Public relations practitioners often monitormonitored that
Print and electronic news reports, ...
5-22

MOST USED RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
Informal research techniques are most often used by
practitioners. The six listed most...
5-23

Formal Research Techniques
•

•
•

Survey Research--this is the
formal tool used 90% of the
time in public relations...
5-24

Survey Research
• Most survey research

is designed to…
• Identify and/or categorize members

of one or more publics...
5-25

Content Analysis
Content analysis is a process through which
information can be converted into quantitative
data. Th...
5-26

CONTENT ANALYSIS: A THREE-STEP
PROCESS
1.

Representative samples are drawn from sets of documents
or other sources
...
5-27

Experimental Research
Experimental research encompasses…
• Laboratory experiments conducted in controlled
environmen...
5-28

Experimental Research
Pretests Channels
Experimental research in public
relations usually deals with pretesting comm...
5-29

Survey vs. Experimental Research
• Survey research in public relations examines the

attitudes and opinions of audie...
5-30

Populations and Samples
Systematic research almost always deals with
samples drawn at random from specified publics....
5-31

Five Types of Sampling
 Simple random sampling allows each member of a population

an equal chance to be selected
...
5-32

More Research Terms

Research.mp4
Click on the picture above to hear Rick Fischer, Professor of Public
Relations at ...
5-33

ANOTHER RESEARCH OPTION…
• PR practitioners often

outsource for their
research needs.
• Marketing Research
Services...
5-34

IN SUMMARY…
Research is an important part of any public relations
effort. Public relations professionals must be abl...
Tasks to Accomplish this week…
• Your 3rd Online Quiz will start Monday, 30th December,

from 12pm onwards.

• Individual ...
Tasks to Accomplish this week…
Researching Issues for PR Campaigns: Complete the following
tasks below in a Word Document ...
Tasks to Accomplish this week…
3)

HSBC Bank and Stanchart are rival UK-based banks who are
competing with each other to t...
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Dic2313 week 6 research & public opinion

  1. 1. Introduction to Public Relations Week 6: Research: Understanding Public Opinion McGraw-Hill/Irwin Copyright © 2012 McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. 5-2 PART TWO: THE PROCESS Week 6 Chap. 5, focus is… RESEARCH STRATEGIES We will study why research is important in public relations and the techniques used to conduct this research in order to obtain valid results.
  3. 3. 5-3 Today’s Learning Objectives are…  Know what types of research techniques are used by public relations practitioners  Know how to conduct research for public relations campaigns.  Understand why research is important.
  4. 4. 5-4 What Is Research? Research in public relations is a cyclical process through which practitioners: • • Monitor the environments of organizations and their publics. • • Measure the productivity of public relations efforts. Identify and track events and trends that may influence public relationships. Provide data to enhance the program’s efficiency and effectiveness. In short – Research means “gathering information” & can be Formal (scientific) OR Informal (nonscientific)
  5. 5. 5-5 What Research Can Do 1) Monitor Environment 2) Identify & Track Events 3) Measure Productivity 4) Enhance Efficiency & Effectiveness
  6. 6. 5-6 The Role of Research Research enables practitioners to: • Identify and define publics involved in specific problems. • Pretest messages and media to ensure that programs will produce the best possible results. • • Evaluate the results of programs and campaigns. Design and execute follow-up activities.
  7. 7. 5-7 Questions to Begin Research • What preliminary research is needed? • Which formal research techniques do you need? • Survey • Content analysis • Experimental • Other
  8. 8. 5-8 Preliminary Research We often begin by doing Informal (secondary/nonscientific) research such as: •Libraries •Databases •Internet •Electronic Publications •Government Documents and websites •Professional Organizations For more in depth information, read Lattimore et. al (2013, 4th Ed.), from pages 98 - 102
  9. 9. 5-9 Libraries 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Academic journals Government documents Directories and reference works Professional and trade publications Newspapers and periodicals
  10. 10. 5-10 Databases • Academic Universe [consisting primarily of periodicals] • Dialog [a gateway to hundreds of databases – the industry’s largest] • ERIC [a repository for academic research] • JSTOR [a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources]
  11. 11. 5-11 THE INTERNET PROVIDES ACCESS TO … • Search engines • Online publishers/encyclopedias (Wikipedia, About.com, Ask.com etc.) • Governmental agency databases • Professional and business web sites • Corporate web sites Watch: Using Google Consumer Surveys for PR research
  12. 12. 5-12 Governmental Agencies • Information compiled by governmental agencies at all levels is accessible via the Internet. Included are databases from… • • Legislative bodies such as the… • U.S. Congress • state legislatures • both county and municipal lawmaking bodies Regulatory agencies at all levels: • Federal Food and Drug Administration • local zoning boards
  13. 13. 5-13 Professional And Business Organizations Many organizations maintain Web sites that may contain … • Survey data dealing with their industries and/or members. • Archives of their publications and other materials. • Links to other sites or files containing information of value to practitioners.
  14. 14. 5-14 Preliminary Research Techniques • Analyzing file records or news clippings • Interviewing key contacts (salespeople) or centers of influence • Organizing committees or study panels • Using focus groups or national polls • Practicing ‘casual monitoring’ through phone calls, email, letters
  15. 15. 5-15 Using Recorded Information Personnel Records Sales Records Production Records Sales Records Here are some various types of organizational records. You could also include attendance records.
  16. 16. 5-16 Regulatory, Governmental Records Every organization operates under Federal, state, county and municipal regulations. Regulation generates two types of records: • • From Putrajaya… Those maintained by organizations to comply with regulations. Those maintained by governmental and regulatory bodies. Most are available for public inspection under state and Federal ‘sunshine’ laws. …to State/Local Councils
  17. 17. 5-17 Centers of Influence • • • Elected and appointed officials of all governments • Clergymen, educators and leading members of other disciplines Executives and owners of business organizations Elected leaders of civic, fraternal and community organizations These are key contacts for a PR practitioner, and are known as opinion leaders in the community, industry or organisation
  18. 18. 5-18 SPECIAL COMMITTEES IN PUBLIC RELATIONS Decision makers and opinion leaders can be assembled regularly or on an ad hoc basis to help organizations: • Identify issues before they • • become problems. Suggest alternative courses of action. Provide objective views of matters that are difficult for ‘insiders’ to evaluate.
  19. 19. 5-19 FOCUS GROUPS ARE … • • Most commonly used in qualitative research. Usually composed of small numbers of individuals… • who share one or more demographic characteristics
  20. 20. 5-20 Use Open-ended Questions with Focus Groups • • Interviewed using openended questions to prompt interaction and gain insight into their attitudes, opinions and beliefs. Usually videotaped so that researchers can examine nonverbal as well as verbal expressions.
  21. 21. 5-21 Casual Monitoring • Public relations practitioners often monitormonitored that Print and electronic news reports, information routinely comes to their attention, including: for quantity and quality of coverage. • Incoming mail, telephone calls, sales reports and other documents. • Content of business and industry publications, trade association reports, and the like.
  22. 22. 5-22 MOST USED RESEARCH TECHNIQUES Informal research techniques are most often used by practitioners. The six listed most often in one study: • • • • • • Literature searches and electronic retrieval Publicity tracking Telephone/mail surveys with simple cross-tabs Focus groups Communication audits Secondary analysis studies
  23. 23. 5-23 Formal Research Techniques • • • Survey Research--this is the formal tool used 90% of the time in public relations. Content Analysis--statistical sample of content Experimental--Used some with control groups. Each technique offers potentially different results that vary in reliability. For more in depth information, read Lattimore et. al (2013, 4th Ed.), from pages 103 - 105
  24. 24. 5-24 Survey Research • Most survey research is designed to… • Identify and/or categorize members of one or more publics.
  25. 25. 5-25 Content Analysis Content analysis is a process through which information can be converted into quantitative data. The process applies equally to: • Printed materials of all kinds • Transcripts of broadcast information • Transcripts of focus group interviews How does it work?
  26. 26. 5-26 CONTENT ANALYSIS: A THREE-STEP PROCESS 1. Representative samples are drawn from sets of documents or other sources (e.g. 8 news articles from 5 major newspapers on Nestle’s CEO commenting that access to water is not a human right) 2. Selected items are searched for key words and sorted by such factors as length, tone and position in the publication (e.g. front page news in 3 media, 2 half-page articles, a small column in 3 others, keywords/phrases such as “CEO is greedy/inhuman in 4 media articles, 3 agree that water should be commercialised and privatised, and 1article is neutral) 3. Resulting data are analyzed over time or in comparison to other data sets (e.g., for contrary opinions, negative backlash, supportive parties)
  27. 27. 5-27 Experimental Research Experimental research encompasses… • Laboratory experiments conducted in controlled environments to minimize external factors • Field experiments, in which control is sacrificed to observe reactions to real environments.
  28. 28. 5-28 Experimental Research Pretests Channels Experimental research in public relations usually deals with pretesting communication channels and their content, as in brochures and newsletters to determine their effectiveness and also garnering valuable feedback.
  29. 29. 5-29 Survey vs. Experimental Research • Survey research in public relations examines the attitudes and opinions of audience members. • Experimental research in public relations usually deals with pre-testing communication channels and their content, as in brochures and newsletters.
  30. 30. 5-30 Populations and Samples Systematic research almost always deals with samples drawn at random from specified publics. Random sampling is … • Based in probability theory • Used to ensure that results can be generalized to the larger population
  31. 31. 5-31 Five Types of Sampling  Simple random sampling allows each member of a population an equal chance to be selected  Systematic sampling uses a list or directory to select a random sample  Stratified random sampling, in which the population is divided into two groups and samples are drawn from each  Cluster sampling, in which groups rather than individuals are selected at random  Quota sampling, in which fixed numbers of individuals are drawn from sub-groups For more in depth information, read Lattimore et. al (2013, 4th Ed.), page 107
  32. 32. 5-32 More Research Terms Research.mp4 Click on the picture above to hear Rick Fischer, Professor of Public Relations at the University of Memphis, explain some more research terms in PR.
  33. 33. 5-33 ANOTHER RESEARCH OPTION… • PR practitioners often outsource for their research needs. • Marketing Research Services, Inc. is an example of a research contractor. The Nielsen Company is another popular option.
  34. 34. 5-34 IN SUMMARY… Research is an important part of any public relations effort. Public relations professionals must be able to measure the effects of their work and make reasonable predictions about future success if they wish to influence managerial decisions in most organizations today. Public Relations Practitioners have many research techniques available to them to study their publics and find out the best way to communicate their messages.
  35. 35. Tasks to Accomplish this week… • Your 3rd Online Quiz will start Monday, 30th December, from 12pm onwards. • Individual task – Researching Issues for PR Campaigns (instructions on the next slide)
  36. 36. Tasks to Accomplish this week… Researching Issues for PR Campaigns: Complete the following tasks below in a Word Document and send to me by Saturday 4th January before 6.00pm 1)BMW Malaysia hired your PR company to run a PR campaign on road safety for children in Malaysia. You will need to gather information on the latest accident statistics to help you in planning an effective PR campaign. Based on this week’s lecture, what are the research methods you will use to do this? 2)McDonald’s Malaysia has recently devised a new burger and has instructed its PR department to engage with customers to get feedback on the new burger before it is announced to the public. Promotional materials for the new burger has also been made and you would also like to gauge the effectiveness of these materials. What would be the best methods for you to gather the required information? Give 3 examples.
  37. 37. Tasks to Accomplish this week… 3) HSBC Bank and Stanchart are rival UK-based banks who are competing with each other to take over and acquire RHB Bank, a local Malaysian bank. A lot of media attention has been focused on this issue, highlighting both the positive and negative impact should the major concerns among not just the customers, but the 3,000 employees of RHB Bank. RHB Bank has engaged your PR consultancy to: i. ii. iii. gauge and find out what the media has been saying about the merger so that it can assign its internal PR department to issue the appropriate response. Assess the reaction of the existing RHB customers about the impending merger and determine whether they are supportive or against the merger, and what were their immediate concerns. Lastly, obtain feedback from RHB’s current employees to ascertain their general feeling and concerns about the merger so that they can help address their employees’ fears and anxieties over the merger, especially after a rumour has spread that 1,000 employees from RHB will be retrenched once the merger is complete. They would also like to ascertain which bank, HSBC or Stanchart, that their employees are more positive and confident with. List and explain the best research methods you can adopt to get information for each of the 3 tasks that RHB wants you to do.
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