Hello friends and welcome to my second installment of exploring the various aspects of public relations. In this installment, we are going to explore why solid, accurate research is crucial to any public relations campaign. Just going off of the idea of a house, you always need a solid foundation to build upon; without it, no matter what materials you use for the rest of the house, no matter how expensive, will come crumbling down. Think of good research in the same manner. If your research is well thought out, the rest of your campaign will have a significant advantage to build off of and better chance to be successful. If your research is poor, no matter how flashy or well thought out your public relations campaign is, it has the potential to fail due to misinformation and false facts.
In the article, Making History: Reflections on Memory and Elite Interviews in Public Relations Research by Kate Fitch of Murdoch University in Australia, Kate points out that while research is important, understanding that research in its correct context is just as important,a s well as ensuring those sources are credible and that one must be careful when selecting sources.. As she puts it, “Interviews and personal accounts can offer rich insights, but only if a critical stance and authorial reflexivity are adopted.”(Fitch 2015) So let’s suppose I decided in my research to interview someone about their past with my client. Keeping Kate’s advice in mind, I need to be wary of my interviewees biases, perceptions and point of view in relation to the situation I am interviewing about; if they had a negative experience with what I am interviewing about, of course it will not be favorable, but that also doesn’t mean everyone thinks the same way as the person I am interviewing. It is very possible that someone else has the exact opposite opinion of the situation and even then, while we might prefer that narrative, it may not be 100% factual.
Another article I read, titled Researcher and Researched-Community Perspectives: Toward Bridging the Gap by Marianne Sullivan MPH; Ahoua Kone MPH; Kirsten D. Senturia PhD;
Noel J. Chrisman PhD,MPH;Sandra J. Ciske MN and James W. Krieger, MD, MPH looks into how knowing the racial and cultural context of a group can help avoid a public relations disaster. In the article, they specifically study the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and how the African Americans in the study were mistreated, which garnered an apology from President Clinton and increased efforts from the Department of Health and Human Services to increase community engagement and to help change how healthcare workers engage the population. Some of the ways they identified include changing negative perspectives, building trust and showing respect for community expertise, amongst others avenues of approach. This ties in perfectly with the fact that solid research only strengthens your endeavors.
Standards are a point in which something or someone is measured against. When standards are set, they help keep a set of expectations amongst those who keep them and those who fail to meet them are either corrected or terminated. In article by David Geddes titled What are Standards for Public Relations Research, and Why Do We Need Them?, he helps identify the importance of having standards, stating that having these standards not only increases competition and credibility, but also boosts innovation. Identifying and maintaining standards can be a key component to any public relations research program.
I hope you enjoyed this look into another aspect of public relations. To summarize, we looked at the importance of accurate, in context, culturally sensitive, respectful and standardized research. By keeping this in mind, one can expect to have a better chance at having a successful public relations campaign.
Geddes, D. (2014, June 16). What are Standards for Public Relations Research, and Why Do We Need Them? Retrieved from http://www.instituteforpr.org/what-are-standards-for-public-relations-research-and-why-do-we-need-them/
Fitch, K. (2015, July 20). Making history: Reflections on memory and elite interviews in public relations research .
Sage Journal 10.1177/2046147X15580684
Sullivan, M., Kone, A., Senturia, K. D., Christman, N. J., Ciske, S. K., & Krieger, J. M. (2016, June 30). Researcher and Researched-Community Perspectives: Toward Bridging the Gap.
Sage Journal 10.1177/109019810102800202