Ready, Set, Research!

Research, research, research. No matter what your major is, it seems like every college student is constantly stuck in a never-ending cycle of researching. Much of the time, research is boring and dull. If you don’t like the topic you have to research, you may procrastinate your assignment and find yourself making 57 cups of coffee and scrambling across the web, trying to finish the assignment the night before it is due. This is not fun and definitely not an effective way to gain knowledge and conduct research. However, there is a method behind the madness. Have you ever heard the phrase, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Well, it may feel like you’re boring yourself to death during the research process, but man is it important. Doing your research will help strengthen your knowledge and give you a better understanding of the topic you are dealing with. So, lets dive into the many reasons research is valuable and should be taken serious, particularly in the PR industry.

One way research is meaningful is because it allows two-way communication between public relations practitioners and their audiences. Research allows PR professionals to learn the publics’ opinions, beliefs and attitudes toward a brand or idea. (Bowen, Rawlins & Martin, 2012). With this knowledge, PR pros can start narrowing their tactics in order to provide the most effective campaign. Although research may cost a bit of money, it ultimately saves a company money in the long run. By knowing what their target audience wants, PR professionals can save money by enforcing the correct strategies in their campaign (Bowen, Rawlins & Martin, 2012). Research also allows PR pros to measure impact of their campaign on their audiences. This is important because it shows whether the campaign was successful or not (Bowen, Rawlins & Martin, 2012). Research also provides unbiased information; this is important because much of the time, leaders may have preconceived notions about their audiences’ wants and needs. Research shows truthful data that isn’t skewed by anyone’s perspective (Symes). Finally, research produces data on the way information should be presented to the public. This is important because not only is it necessary to know what type of information to provide to your target audience, it is also beneficial to understand HOW to provide that information to the audience (Symes).

It is important to keep in mind that while we are researching, we must also be ethical. In public relations research ethics is defined as, “how we ought to decide, manage and communicate” (Stacks, 2014, p. 8). It is important to keep ethics in mind when we are researching so we maintain integrity, fairness, respect and confidentiality during the process (Stacks, 2014). As long as we keep the importance of research and the standard of ethics in mind, researching shouldn’t be so bad.

Like I mentioned earlier, research isn’t something that many find very exciting or fun. However, it is crucial to the PR industry. When building a campaign, we must have something to set as the foundation or else the whole thing will crumble. Research gives us a look at what our target audience wants, how information should be presented and allows us to receive feedback from the audiences. Make sure to keep these points in mind the next time you sit down and research. Hopefully it will provide some motivation to keep up the research momentum! But, if all else fails, I’m sure 57 cups of coffee should do the trick 😉

-G

References:

Bowen, S. A., Rawlins, B. & Martin T. (February 2012). Mastering Public Relations. Flat World Knowledge, 1. Retrieved on January 25, 2017 from http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/reader/5573?e=bowen_1.0-ch08_s01#bowen_1.0-ch00pref.

Stacks, D. W. (2014). Examining Research and Measurement Ethics in Today’s Transparent World: Establishing Standards for Today’s Communications. Institute Foe PR. Retrieved on January 25, 2017 from http://www.instituteforpr.org/wp-content/uploads/Stacks-PRSA-PRIME-6-14.pdf.

Symes, S. How Is Research Important to Strategic Public Relations Plans? Chron. Retrieved on January 25, 2017, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/research-important-strategic-public-relations-plans-15586.html.

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