Posted by: loveleigh | March 27, 2009

Ch. 5: Research is Important

Why is research such an important step in PR? How will research help me? While learning more about the PR field I have often thought these two questions, and chapter 4 answered them for me.

  • To achieve credibility with management. Executives want facts, not guesses and hunches. Research helps relate findings to the organization’s objectives.
  • To define audiences and segment publics. Detailed information about the demographics, lifestyles, characteristics, and consumption patterns of audiences helps to ensure that messages reach the proper audiences.
  • To formulate strategy. A lot of money can be spent pursuing the wrong strategies and research will help professionals pick the right strategy for their client.
  • To test messages. Research is often used to determine what particular message is most salient with the target audience.
  • To help management keep in touch. Research helps bridge the gap between top management and the employees by periodically surveying key publics about problems and concerns.
  • To prevent crisis. Research can often uncover trouble spots and public concerns before they become front-page news.
  • To monitor the competition. Research helps an organization shape its marketing and communication strategies to position a product and capitalize on a competitor’s weakness.
  • To sway public opinion. Facts and figures, compiled from a variety of primary and secondary sources, can change public opinion.
  • To generate publicity. Polls and surveys can generate publicity for an organization
  • To measure success. Research will tell whether the time and money spent accomplished the stated objective.

Qualitative Research: referred to as “soft data.” Usually uses open-ended questions that are exploratory in nature. The research is usually valid, but not always reliable and is rarely projectable to larger audiences.

Examples: in-depth interviews, observation, participation, convenience polling, and role-playing studies

Quantitative Research: referred to as “hard data.” Usually uses close-ended questions that requires forced choices. It’s more of a explanatory research that is valid and reliable. Usually projectable to larger audiences.

Examples: telephone polls, mail surveys, mall intercept studies, face-to-face interviews and panel studies

This information was provided by Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics (9th edition) by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron


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