Ch. 5- Research

3 Oct

Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics- 9th edition. Dennis L. Wilcox & Glen T. Cameron

Public Relations professionals use research in the following ways:

  • To achieve credibility with management
  • To define audiences and segment publics
    • Finding info about demographics, lifestyles, characteristics and consumption patterns of audiences helps make sure information reach the right audiences
    • To formulate strategy
    • To test messages
      • Use focus groups
      • To help management keep in touch
      • To prevent crises
      • To monitor the competition
        • Surveys that ask consumers to comment on competing products
        • To sway public opinion
          • Facts and figures from different sources can change public opinion
          • To generate publicity
            • Polls and surveys can generate publicity
            • To measure success

Research techniques

  • Secondary Research
    • Uses existing information
      • Books, magazine, electronic databases, etc
      • Qualitative Research
        • “Soft” data
        • Uses open-ended questions
        • Generally uses nonrandom samples
        • Not usually projectable to larger audiences
          • Examples: focus groups, one-on-one, in-depth interviews, observation, participation, role-playing studies, convenience polling
          • Quantitative Research
            • “Hard” data
            • Uses close-ended questions
            • Generally uses random samples
            • Projectable to larger audiences
              • Examples: telephone polls, mail surveys, mail intercept studies, face-to-face interviews, shared cost, panel studies

Questionnaire Construction

  • Carefully Consider Wording
  • Avoid loaded questions
    • Advocacy research– surveys with questions that use highly charged words that elicit an emotional response
    • Consider timing and context
      • Surveys and polls shouldn’t be conducted while an organization is in the news or connected to an event that might influence public opinion
      • Avoid the politically correct answer
        • Courtesy bias– when respondents choose answers that they think the sponsor of the survey wants to hear or reflects good on them
        • Give a range of possible answers
          • Make sure answer choices cover a wide range of opinions

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