Finding our essential knowledge

Page Turner, the blog of the Arthur W. Page Society, has published my posting regarding the three kinds of research in our field, and how that relates to the Institute for Public Relations’ Essential Knowledge Project. As articulated by Dr. James E. Grunig, the three kinds are:

1. Research used in the practice of public relations to identify publics, set strategies and measure results.
2. Research on the practice of public relations to understand trends, best practices, etc.
3. And research for the practice of public relations to develop broad knowledge about what works, when, and why.

Where can you go these days and not hear about the first kind of research? Conferences, trade pubs, blogs and water coolers. We get it (even if we’re not always doing it).

But when it comes to the second and third kinds of research – we all know many practitioners who barely give a thought to this kind of knowledge.

The Page Society is a professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives. Its mission is to strengthen the management policy role of the corporate public relations officer. So what can practitioners at the pinnacle of the public relations profession do to engage their colleagues in the search for the science beneath the art of public relations?

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3 Replies to “Finding our essential knowledge

  1. Frank, you asked what practitioners can do to communicate best practices, trends, and contexts for our knowledge. Two resources that I find valuable are blogs and social networking sites.

    Social networking sites like
    My Ragan and PR Open Mic are host to up-to-the-minute commentary.

    In addition, I learn a great deal from reading blogs like Todd Defren’s

    PR Squared
    , KD Paine’s PR Measurement Blog, and Kami Huyse and Lauren Vargas’
    Communication Overtones
    .

    Although I just finished my doctorate, I realize how much there is to learn, especially given the dynamic nature of social media. There is a wealth of knowledge being shared online. One of the best parts is that unlike academic publishing, insights are shared immediately.

  2. I do agree that a major factor in this shift will be the increasing need for efficiency as the work force is aging and being replaced with less bodies.
    Jane

  3. I really like your question Frank and I think it’s one that’s about to undergo a great change. As PR heads towards legitimization and PR programs attract more educated individuals, there may be a shift towards the latter types of research.
    Indeed, another integral factor in this shift will be the increasing need for efficiency as the work force (in much of the Western world, at least) is aging and being replaced with less bodies. The sooner communications executives realize that investment in these types of research could equal time saved and money earned, the quicker we will see conferences and trade publications scooping up these trends. Until then, let the few who know and practice them set a benchmark in their organizations.

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