week 9 – The importance of research in public relations

When asked what is public relations, everyone has a very different idea or response as to what they believe it is. Some believe it is merely advertising, others see Public Relations practitioners to be nothing other than spin doctors, others can’t identify the different between Public Relations and marketing. However people perceive Public Relations to be, the research and planning behind a campaign often goes unrecognised.

Research can include a variety of different things including:

  • Finding facts and evidence
  • Planning
  • assessing differing opinions
  • Evaluation

In basic terms, research can be seen merely as the process of posing questions and finding the answers.

There are 3 simple steps that one can take in order to think like a professional individual in the Public Relations field

  • Step one – Understand the issue, problem ect.
    What is the context of the issue?
    What sort of information would benefit and help me develop a good campaign
  • Step two – Decide upon the research questions
    What do I need to know?
    What’s my objective?
  • Step three – Designing the research activity
    Where, how, or from who will I be able to find and/or gather this information from?
    What will I do with the information?

There are a variety of other factors that will also need to be identified throughout the research process such as:

  • Will I focus more so on Qualitative or quantitative data?
  • Am i gaining information in an ethical practise?
  • Will I incorporate primary or secondary research?
  • What publics am I targeting?
    with that question comes a large array of questions such as
  • What about this project interests them?
  • What would they want to know?
  • What strategies/tactics would be most effective with the audience
  • What’s the best way to engage them?

These are only a few of the questions that need to be taken into consideration when going through the process of research. Therefore, it can be seen how highly important the process of research it and how vital it is to obtain the right sort of information when researching. If this process is taken lightly, and not taken in a serious matter, then the campaign may be highly ineffective, which could potentially result in a loss of funds for the company, less publics and so forth.

Reading about all the different components of research within Public Relations really opened my eyes as to how much work truly goes on behind the scenes, all of which generally goes unrecognised. The next time I identify a well-developed campaign, I will take a moment to stop and recognise the various process’, time and effort that many individuals would have put into their work in order to make it as successful as it appears to have been.

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