Chapter 5: Research

28 03 2009

(Notes from Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron)
Research is the first step to make public relations effective

Questions to ask during the research process:

(1.)  What is the problem?

(2.)  What kind of info is needed?

(3.)  How will the results of the research be used?

(4.)  What specific public (or publics) should be researched?

(5.)  Should the organization do the research in-house or hire an outside consultant?

(6.)  How will the research data be analyzed, reported or applied?

(7.)  How soon will the results be needed?

(8.)  How much will the research cost?

PR professionals use research in 10 different ways:

(1.)  To achieve credibility with management

(2.)  To define audiences and segment publics

(3.)  To formulate strategy

(4.)  To test messages

(5.)  To help management keep in touch

(6.)  To prevent crises

(7.)  To monitor the competition

(8.)  To sway public opinion

(9.)  To generate publicity

(10.)  To measure success

There are 3 approaches to research:

Secondary Research:  This ranges from archival research in an organization’s files to reference books, computer databases, and online searches.

Qualitative Research:  This is good for probing attitudes and perceptions, assessing penetration of messages, and testing messages.

Quantitative Research:  This involves conducting polls and surveys using highly precise scientific sampling methods.

Things to keep in mind when constructing the questionnaire are to carefully consider your wording, avoid loaded questions, consider timing and context, avoid the politically correct answer, and give a range of possible answers.

Respondents for the survey can be reached in a number of ways—through mail questionnaires, telephone surveys, personal interviews, omnibus surveys, and web and e-mail surveys.

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