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Research Methods and Ideas

Public relations research works best when the project:

 Is programmatic

 Has clearly defined and achievable goals

 Has its objectives stated in measurable terms

 Addresses the appropriate research questions

 Has the necessary resources allocated to the research program.

Some research can be qualitative, meaning focusing on definition and value. This is focused; use a small sample, and the results will provide in-depth knowledge. We can achieve this through focus groups and in-depth interviewing.

This projects attempts to discover the attitude of each market segment toward a program’s messages, and the best way to get the information to the market in a way that will change attitudes. A market segment is defined as a “specified group from within a defined public targeted for influence.” This motivating factor in public relations may be broken down into levels:

 Affective (emotional evaluation)

 Cognitive (knowledge evaluation)

 Connotative (behavioral evaluation).

This differs from a belief: Belief is a long-held evaluation, usually determined on a basis its occurrence; a cluster of beliefs yields attitudes.

In this type of attitude research we measure and interpret a full range of views, sentiments, feelings, opinions, and beliefs that the public holds. To do this we will review results on an attitude scale - a measure that targets respondent attitudes or beliefs. This typically interval-level data requires that an arbitrary or absolute midpoint ("neutral" or "neither agree nor disagree") be provided to the respondent.

The idea is to create a benchmark. This measurement technique allows an organization to learn something about its own practices and the practices of selected others, and then compare these practices. This baseline is an initial measurement against which all subsequent measures are compared.

Using the baseline,one canconclude a behavioral objective that:

 specifies the expected public relations campaign or program outcome in terms of behaviors

 provides a measure that is actionable in that it is the behavior requested of a target audience

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