Top 5 Things I learned in Public Relations Research

Public Relations research has definately been a one of the hardest courses I have taken in college, however, it has also been the most helpful and skill building. I learned a lot in this class and I have listed the most important things I learned in the class below.

5.)KNOW YOUR CLIENT: This semester I had the privelege of working with a real client and pitching them ideas about how to help a certain cause in their organization. My group and I took it upon ourselves to personally visit the client, Center in Excellence in Teaching, two different times simply to get a feel for the workplace and the people in it. We also made it a priority to meet and greet the head of our organization so when it came to the day we were to present, he would recognize our faces, and we would in turn have a familiar face in the crowd. Knowing your client well gives you a huge leg up on the competition and ensures you do not do any work/research that has already been done.

4.)GATHERING DATA IS HALF THE BATTLE: Obtaining raw data through surveys and focus groups proved to be quite the challenge. Our group had a very low return rate on e-mail linked surveys and only 2 individuals indicated they would participate in a focus group. Basically what I am trying to say here is that do not fret if gathering data seems tough, it is. Knowing this going into it will help alleviate stress.

3.)DESIGN OF SURVEY SHOULD BE STRATEGIC: When designing your survey, the layout is incredibly important. You want to start with easier questions at the beginning and leave the more difficult questions for the end. You want to make sure your questions are easily understandable and lend themselves to answering. Also make sure you are using the correct question formatting for the correct questions. Know the difference between a likert scale, open-ended questions, multiple answers and so on. Put yourself in the questionnaire taker’s shoes and see which type of format works most effectively.

4.)PLANNING IS KEY: I cannot stress this point more. Plan, plan, plan, plan, and then plan some more. Throughout public relations research projects you are going to have a million different balls being thrown your way all the time (especially if you are in the team leader role). Also, more than likely, you will be working in a group and while individually you may be able to pull something together last minute, trust me when I say, in a group arena this is NOT possible. Organize your work and plan far ahead in advance to make sure everything will be done with time to spare.

5.)BE ETHICAL AND CHECK TEAMMATES WORK: This is by far the most important thing I learned while in Public Relations research. Ethical public relations is so important and a big part of this is using your own work. I know this seems like a no-brainer but I unfortunately had a woman on my team this semester who found it completely “ethical” to copy and paste paragraph after paragraph of someone else’s work, which brings me to  my next point – DO NOT BLINDLY TRUST ANYONE. This is your job, your income, your reputation on the line and someone else can ruin it for you with a drop of a hat. Check their work and do not sign anything unless you are 100% sure nothing is plagiarized.

Like I said earlier, a tough, tough class, but completely worth the life lessons it taught me. Thank you Ms. Nixon for treating us all like adults and as though we are in the real world, because that phase in our life is just around the corner!


December 9, 2009. Assignments.

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