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Understanding research
Chapter One
Public Relations & Research
 Research is the beginning of a process that
seeks to bring about a specific objective
 You ...
History of Public Relations
Research
 It’s often argued that public relations
practitioners fear research, though
practit...
What’s Changing in Modern PR
Research?
1. Modern PR strives to deliver show how PR
activities are influencing the bottom l...
Informal & Formal Research
 Observing of
people, events or
objects of interest
as they occur
 Typically use
qualitative ...
Why Conduct PR Research?
 Without research, PR practitioners are
essentially guessing when it comes PR
problems and PR ca...
Research & Decision Making
 As PR has transitioned from a technical to a
management function, the role of research has
be...
How is Research Used?
 Research is used to:
 Track, measure, assess and evaluate PR actions
 To monitor trends and deve...
Research & Evaluation
 Evaluation is conducted during all parts of the
PR process, including:
 At the pre-campaign resea...
Evaluation Throughout the PR
Process
Methodological Approaches to
Data
 Research encompasses two methodological
approaches to data
 Informal – observations, ...
What is Quantitative Research?
Quantitative
Research: The
objective, systematic
and controlled
gathering of data
What is Qualitative Research?
Qualitative Research:
relies on the subjective
evaluations that provide
researchers with an ...
Quantitative vs. Qualitative
Research
Quantitative Research Qualitative Research
Data Collection
• Controlled
• Objective
...
Quantitative vs. Qualitative
Research
 Quantitative research creates population norms
 Qualitative research provides in-...
Introducing Theoretical & Applied
Research
 Two basic types of research
 Theoretical – seeks to provide an underlying
fr...
How Does Theoretical Research
Work?
 The theoretical researcher's ideas are put to the test in
laboratory settings
 This...
How Does Applied Research
Work?
 Theoretical research findings are used by the applied
researcher
 The applied researche...
The Theoretical Researcher as the
Architect
The Theoretical Researcher as
the Architect
Creates abstract plans that
deter...
The Applied Researcher as the
Builder
The Applied Researcher as
the Builder
Takes the plans and uses
them to construct th...
Research Questions
 The relationship between applied vs. theoretical
research and quantitative vs. qualitative research
i...
Types of Research Questions
Questions of Definition
Questions of definition: define what is it
that we are attempting to observe
Most basic question ...
Questions of Fact
Questions of Fact: seek to compare across
or between groups
QoF arise from questions of definition
Ans...
Questions of Value
Questions of Value: ask “how well” or
“how good” something is
Can be answered quantitatively or qualit...
Questions of Policy
Questions of Policy: ask what should be
done
QoP are always strategic
Are almost always categorized ...
Use of Research in PR
 Research is on the rise and is getting increasingly
sophisticated
 Employing both formal and info...
Best Practices in Public Relations
1. Research methods & procedures should:
1. Be clear and have well defined research
obj...
Definitions
 Applied research: seeks to use theory-driven research in business world
situations
 Data: The observations ...
Definitions
 Laboratory research: research that has been carefully controlled to exclude
anything that might influence th...
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Understanding Public Relations Research

Public Relations Research Course

Text: Primer of Public Relations Research by Don W. Stacks
Chapter 1: Understanding Research

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Understanding Public Relations Research

  1. 1. Understanding research Chapter One
  2. 2. Public Relations & Research  Research is the beginning of a process that seeks to bring about a specific objective  You may be familiar with many of PR processes discussed in other PR courses. For example:  Marston’s RACE model (Research, Action, Communication, Evaluation)  Hendrix’s ROPE model (Research, Objectives, Program, Evaluation)  Cutlip, Center & Broom’s four-step process (Defining PR Problems, Planning & Programming, Taking Action and Communicating, Evaluating the Program)
  3. 3. History of Public Relations Research  It’s often argued that public relations practitioners fear research, though practitioners have always relied on research to some degree
  4. 4. What’s Changing in Modern PR Research? 1. Modern PR strives to deliver show how PR activities are influencing the bottom line. 1. The profession has moved from looking at large groups of people to looking at targeted, specialized groups.
  5. 5. Informal & Formal Research  Observing of people, events or objects of interest as they occur  Typically use qualitative methods  Systematic gathering, analyzing, and evaluating of data via some methodology  May use quantitative or qualitative methods Informal Research Formal Research
  6. 6. Why Conduct PR Research?  Without research, PR practitioners are essentially guessing when it comes PR problems and PR campaigns / programs  This results in a greater risk of being unable to predict outcomes accurately  Without research, we can not assess:  Where a problem begins  How it evolves  What the end product will be
  7. 7. Research & Decision Making  As PR has transitioned from a technical to a management function, the role of research has become increasingly important  Management decisions are influenced by many factors — acquiring and analyzing data are instrumental to the decision-making process
  8. 8. How is Research Used?  Research is used to:  Track, measure, assess and evaluate PR actions  To monitor trends and developments as they occur  Research is essential to the assessment and measurement of PR messages and campaigns  Helps PR practitioners know what’s working, what’s not working and what corrective strategies we need to employ
  9. 9. Research & Evaluation  Evaluation is conducted during all parts of the PR process, including:  At the pre-campaign research phase  During the actual campaign  At the end of a campaign
  10. 10. Evaluation Throughout the PR Process
  11. 11. Methodological Approaches to Data  Research encompasses two methodological approaches to data  Informal – observations, taken from the researchers experiences  Formal – a more objective approach to data, surveys and polls, social scientist  Each methodology has advantages and disadvantages
  12. 12. What is Quantitative Research? Quantitative Research: The objective, systematic and controlled gathering of data
  13. 13. What is Qualitative Research? Qualitative Research: relies on the subjective evaluations that provide researchers with an in- depth description and understanding of a particular subject or event
  14. 14. Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research Quantitative Research Qualitative Research Data Collection • Controlled • Objective • Systematic Observation • Uncontrolled • Subjective • Random Observation Data Assessment • Can be reliably measured • Validity can be measured • Is deductively interpreted • Cannot be measured reliably • Validity is assumed • Is inductively interpreted Outcomes • Description • Understanding • Prediction • Control • Description • Understanding
  15. 15. Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research  Quantitative research creates population norms  Qualitative research provides in-depth understanding that is found outside of population norms  Quantitative and Qualitative methods compliment one another  When combined, we can both predict how groups acted or reacted and provide richer detail and understanding as to why they reacted a certain way  Triangulation: Using more than one research method in order to provide a better understanding of the problems under study
  16. 16. Introducing Theoretical & Applied Research  Two basic types of research  Theoretical – seeks to provide an underlying framework for the study of public relations  Applied – seeks to use theory-driven research in business world situations
  17. 17. How Does Theoretical Research Work?  The theoretical researcher's ideas are put to the test in laboratory settings  This means the researcher is trying to test research questions in as “pure” a condition as possible  The researcher establishes which variables cause changes in other variables  There is little theoretical research performed in the PR field, though this is changing due to an increased emphasis on demonstrating how PR contributes to the “bottom line” (i.e. return on investment, ROI)
  18. 18. How Does Applied Research Work?  Theoretical research findings are used by the applied researcher  The applied researcher practices strategic research and evaluation research  Evaluation provides a baseline at a campaign’s start and allows researchers to set benchmarks against their research  Benchmarks enable researchers to determine how their campaign / program results compare to the industry or other companies
  19. 19. The Theoretical Researcher as the Architect The Theoretical Researcher as the Architect Creates abstract plans that determine what the structure should look like Creates the framework for how concepts and ideas work together Specifies how certain materials should be used Specifies which concepts or ideas can be used
  20. 20. The Applied Researcher as the Builder The Applied Researcher as the Builder Takes the plans and uses them to construct the end- product Uses the theoretical researcher’s framework & applies it to solve real-world problems
  21. 21. Research Questions  The relationship between applied vs. theoretical research and quantitative vs. qualitative research is driven by the kinds of research questions that are asked  A research question is actually a statement made into a research question
  22. 22. Types of Research Questions
  23. 23. Questions of Definition Questions of definition: define what is it that we are attempting to observe Most basic question asked by PR researchers These questions are judgmental in that they seek to define what it is that we should be observing May be answered by quantitative or qualitative methodology
  24. 24. Questions of Fact Questions of Fact: seek to compare across or between groups QoF arise from questions of definition Answer questions dealing with quantity — how much, how many Questions of fact can be verified or refuted through observation (i.e. quantitatively) Not capable of being answered through qualitative research Often used when:  We want to know whether a communication strategy has produced change in how a public views a product  Whether a communication vehicle (how the message was delivered) has made a difference in the perceptions of an organization’s
  25. 25. Questions of Value Questions of Value: ask “how well” or “how good” something is Can be answered quantitatively or qualitatively, but are best answered qualitatively  Answering QoV quantitatively means that researches must rely on attitude measure  Answering QoV qualitatively allows researchers to ask individuals what they think of the research object being measured and why
  26. 26. Questions of Policy Questions of Policy: ask what should be done QoP are always strategic Are almost always categorized as applied research Answered by carefully looking at the findings of questions of definition, fact and value  Require agreement on the definition of the problem, on the findings of fact and value In its application, the QoP most often addressed is the actual development and execution of a communication campaign or program
  27. 27. Use of Research in PR  Research is on the rise and is getting increasingly sophisticated  Employing both formal and informal research methods  Using more complex statistical analyses  More theoretical research is being conducted by the industry  As we become increasingly global, there is a need for better understanding of complex social and economic issues
  28. 28. Best Practices in Public Relations 1. Research methods & procedures should: 1. Be clear and have well defined research objectives 2. Have a through research design and strictly adhere to it 3. Provide detailed supporting documentation 2. Quality and substantive research findings should: 1. Demonstrate effectiveness 2. Link outputs (tactics) to outcomes 3. Develop better communications programs 4. Demonstrate an impact on business outcomes
  29. 29. Definitions  Applied research: seeks to use theory-driven research in business world situations  Data: The observations we make of the world around us via some methodology  Deductive reasoning: a “top-down” approach where research begins with a theory which is narrowed into a more specific hypothesis, tested through observation, and then confirmed or denied.  Evaluation research: provides assessments of how well the program or campaign is working  Formal research: the systematic gathering, analyzing and evaluating of data vis some methodology  Inductive reasoning: A “bottom-up” approach where research begins with specific observations and measures, begin to detect patterns and regularities, begin to formulate a tentative hypothesis, and finally develop general conclusions or theories  Informal research: the observing of people, events, or objects of interest as
  30. 30. Definitions  Laboratory research: research that has been carefully controlled to exclude anything that might influence the relationships under study other than the specific concepts under study  Quantitative Research: The objective, systematic and controlled gathering of data  Qualitative Research: relies on the subjective evaluations that provide researchers with an in-depth description and understanding of a particular subject or event  Strategic research: the development of a public relations campaign or program that uses theoretical elements (e.g., messages, sources) in a practical way  Theoretical research: seeks to provide an underlying framework for the study of public relations  Triangulation: Using more than one research method in order to provide a better understanding of the problems under study  Variables: concepts that have been carefully defined for measurement

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Public Relations Research Course Text: Primer of Public Relations Research by Don W. Stacks Chapter 1: Understanding Research

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