As students we have all learned that research is important. From the third grade we have learned how to use books, the internet, and newspapers as sources for papers. Even in simple conversation with friends it is important to have background information about what you are talking about- or else you may find yourself looking like a fool. For me, I was even required to research topics for my father and present a valid argument if I wanted to attend an event, party, or even sometimes a date (weird, I know).

From the Textbook”Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Today, research is considered as an integral part of the planning, program development, and evaluation process. Just as in science, there are some standard questions that any researcher should ask.

  • What is the problem?
  • What kind of information is needed?
  • How will the results be used?
  • What specific publics should be researched?
  • Should the firm use in-house or an outside firm?
  • How will the data be reported or applied?
  • How soon will the results be needed?
  • How much will the research cost?

Secondary research is one that most people are familiar with. It involves reviewing data and archives, running customer profiles, and searching databases. Popular search engines include Google and Yahoo. Qualitative research is used to gain insights into how individuals behave, think, and make decisions. It is also used to see how the audience responds to key messages. Quantitative research involves scientifically sampling audiences. Random samples are used so that information is representative of the general population. Questionnaire Construction can be valuable in understanding the public’s opinion or view on different subjects. It is important to be unbiased in the wording of questions (do not have “loaded questions”), keep the questionnaire short, and have appropriate sample size pool of people.

For other tips on research check out Erica Lecono’s article in PRWeek: “Leading the Brand: Solid Research Can Take a Brand to a Whole New Level.”