What is the point of research? Honestly.
Research is necessary part of any profession but when it comes to PR, it is a mandatory step for any campaign or client. You wouldn’t publish a biology report about osmosis without conducting research, so why should PR be any different. But what is research, and more importantly what’s the point of it anyways? Research can provide unbiased information, history on the client, and it points PR professionals in the right direction. Without research you cannot be successful when representing a client. So, we know what research is a basic level, but how do you go about it?
Research is part of the “formula” when conducting a PR campaign and is an integral part. “Research is a fundamental part of identifying important issues to the organization, developing strategically based public relations programs, and measuring the impact of those programs on the organization. Without public relations research, practitioners are left with little but outputs and hunches to report. Without research, practitioners cannot show how public relations makes a difference (English, 2005, p. 3).” As English pointed out in her definition, you cannot create a successful campaign without research. So why is research important? Because it is the basis of all things done in PR. Without research a PR practitioner would never know how to conduct their business and run a successful campaign.
Okay, so we understand what research is and why it is a tremendous part of PR. But now why is it important? If we turn on any news channel currently we will most likely hear the new term “alternative facts.” Which appears to be made up stories or statistics. So, depending on what you believe, these “facts” can be true, or they can also be the result of not researching a topic as well. As a new PR student I can find a certain understanding in coining this term. It is a way of choosing to “spin” something to support what they believe. When conducting research, the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) lays out steps to research:
- Gather information systematically
- Describe and understand the situation
- Check assumptions about publics/perceptions
- Determine public relations consequences
These steps seem to not always be followed by the Trump administration.
Overall we can see how PR research personally affects out everyday life. It is crucial in PR and in daily life. PR research includes and benefits from the input of ordinary citizens. There aren’t many constraints on what is possible in the field of PR. So, the more research done on what has already been tried mean there is more room for growth in the future. PR is a rapidly changing industry, I hope the research can keep up.
English, L. (n.d.). Public Relations Research in the Real World of Business. English Communication. Retrieved from http://english-communications.com/downloads/WP_Research_chapter.pdf
How Is Research Important to Strategic Public Relations Plans? (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/research-important-strategic-public-relations-plans-15586.html
Neaimi, M. A., Ramsi, A. A., Shamsi, F. A., & Saee, G. (2016). Research in Public Relations | Al Neaimi | Higher Education of Social Science. Retrieved January 25, 2017, from http://www.cscanada.net/index.php/hess/article/view/8190/pdf
Research Resources. (1974). NASSP Bulletin, 58(378), 97-99. doi:10.1177/019263657405837817