Research: ch. 5

The main process of PR can be summed up by an acronym -RACE.

  1. Research– figure out what the problem is
  2. Action- what we do about the problem
  3. Communication– how are we going to tell the public
  4. Evaluation– see if you reached your audience, and study the effects

Questions asked about research, (note: these can be found on Barbara Nixon’s blog,, click here

  • Should the organization do the research in-house or hire an outside consultant?
  • How will the research data be analyzed, reported, or applied?
  • How soon will the results be needed?
  • How much will the research cost?

There are two types of Reseach

  1. Primary– in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys, and polls.
  2. Secondary– existing information, such as, information in books, magazine articles, and electronic databases

Two Methods of Research:

  1. Qualitative
  • “Soft” data
  • Usually uses open-ended questions, unstructured
  • Exploratory in nature; probing, fishing-expedition type of research
  • Usually valid, but not reliable
  • Rarely projectable to larger audiences
  • Generally uses nonrandom samples
  • Examples: Focus groups; one-on-one; in-depth interviews; observation; participation; role-playing studies; convenience polling

     2.    Quantitative

  • “Hard” data
  • Usually uses close-ended questions, requires forced choices, highly structured
  • Descriptive or explanatory type of research
  • Usually valid and reliable
  • Usually projectable to larger audiences
  • Generally uses random samples
  • Examples: Telephone polls, mail surveys, mall intercept studies, face-to-face interviews, shared cost, or omnibus studies; panal studies

Last little offerings of advice:

  • In research you must think carefully about how you word your questions in a questionaire.
  • Role-playing can even be helpful when gaining insights into the strengths and weaknesses of an organization.

Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009). Public relations: Strategies and tactics (9th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.


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Filed under Class Notes Overview, PRCA 2330

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