Research is a way to reach a final objective after careful analysis of associated factors. In the field of Public Relations, research may be directed towards many PR processes, for example, Marston’s RACE model, Cutlip, Center and Broom’s four step process and Hendrix’s ROPE model. Modern research PR is directed towards a targeted and specific set of people and not at random, large groups, and can be either Informal or Formal research.
Importance of research in PR
- Well-planned and well-executed research plan will enable the PR professional to find out the root cause of problems in the study or in processes.
- Properly outlined research will allow us to study the progression of the problem at hand.
- Well-documented research will enable us to predict the outcome of the problem being faced by the PR professionals.
- Properly targeted research will decrease the likelihood of arriving at incorrect outcomes of processes.
- Duly comprehensive research allows a complete monitoring and evaluation of various PR trends and changes in real time.
- Research enables the PR professionals to know the faults in their strategies and helps in designing corrective action plans.
- Research allows proper evaluation of PR actions with a correlation of their predicted success rates to their actual success.
Since PR is no longer considered to have a technical role only, research PR is gaining unprecedented importance. PR is rapidly gaining a management function and management decisions are affected by many factors. Analysing these factors is the direct function of research. Research in PR covers all aspects of a process, extending across the pre-campaign stage, during the campaign and extends after the campaign. It covers important aspects like correlating previous policies with their respective success rates, collecting details of the ongoing strategy, and determining the overall success of the current strategy.
Types of questions answered by research in PR
The different types of questions that are deduced in research are as follows:
- Questions of Fact (QoF)
QoF are the questions that take into account the evaluations of different PR groups. They are most commonly used when a new strategy has been implemented and the professionals want to see how successful it was.
- Questions of Definition (QoD)
QoD are the most basic area covered by research. By dwelling in these questions, we come to know the exact nature of the problem at hand.
- Questions of Value (QoV)
QoV typically tend to have a subjective nature and they are answered by professionals according to their perspective about the complication at hand.
- Questions of Policy (QoP)
QoP are considered to be a combination of the above-mentioned categories and are addressed in totality by executing processes.
Research is getting more evolved and sophisticated day by day and will be able to offer reliable solutions to PR problems. The extensive use of research PR in almost all process is a clear indication that we can gain a better understanding of dissimilar social and economic problems by dedicated research. Therefore, PR professionals should give due importance to important research practices and make sure that they are adhered to.