Chapter 5 Summary: Research

The role of research is essential in the PR field.  The people which we are trying to reach all differs in how they think and feel, and if we plan to reach them as effectively as we can, we must know all that we can about them.  According to Broom and Dozier, in their book Using Research in Public Relations, research is “the controlled, objective, and systematic gathering of information for the purpose of describing and understanding.”  There are different types of research techniques and in oder to choose the correct one a team must ask a series of questions to ensure that the will receive the information fo which they are looking for:

  • What is the problem?
  • Wht kind of information is needed?
  • How will the results of the research be used?
  • What specific publics should be researched?
  • Should the company do the research in house or hire an outside consultant?
  • How will the data be analyzed, reported and applied?
  • How much will the research cost?

This may seem like alot of work going into something, but the overall benefits of the research can help the company succeed for years to come.  the information gathered can help the company do several things:

  • Achieve credibility with management
  • Define audiences and segment publics
  • Formulate strategy
  • Test messages
  • Help keep management in touch
  • Prevent crisis
  • Monitor competition
  • Sway public opinion
  • Generate publicity
  • Measure success

There is two types of research that can be conducted, qualitative and quanitative.  Qualitative consists of content analysis (minutes of airtime and length of column space in the news paper) interviews and focus groups.  This is more of the personal technique.  Quanitative is the more informal of the two, consisting of mainly questionaires and surveys.  Both can be successful depending upon the situation and both are important to the overall success of the PR department or firm.


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