Reading Notes: Chapter 5

June 11, 2010


Public relations professionals use research in the following ways:

  • to achieve credibility with management
  • to define audiences and segment publics
  • to formulate strategy
  • to test messages
  • to help management keep in touch
  • to prevent crisis
  • to monitor competition
  • to sway public opinion
  • to generate publicity
  • to measure success

Studies have shown that public relations departments spend about 3 to 5 percent of their budget on research. One type of research is primary research which is research conducted by companies from scratch. Another type of research is secondary research, which uses existing information in books, magazine articles, electronic databases etc…

Two other ways to categorize research is by distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative research.

  • Qualitative research– affords the researcher rich insights and understanding of a situation or a targeted public.  It also can provide warnings when strong or adverse responses occur.  This type of research is especially good for probing attitudes and perceptions, assessing penetration of messages, and testing messages.
  • Quantitative research– Can be more expensive and complicated, but it enables a greater ability to generalize to large populations.  When large amounts of money are to be spent this type of research should be spent.  In particular this type of research technique can provide good insights to public relations personnel and help them formulate effective programs

There are 5 parts of qualitative research:

  1.  Content analysis
  2.  Interviews
  3. Focus groups
  4.  Copy testing
  5.  Ethnographic techniques

Four major sources for conducting what also is known as literature review are:

  1. Academic Search Premier
  2. Expanded Academic Index
  3. LexisNexis
  4. Factivia

Information in the post can be found at Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics Authored by Dennis Wilcox and Glen Cameron


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