What are best practices in public relations research, really?

There’s a discussion getting underway on the Institute for Public Relations website and among members of our Commission on PR Measurement & Evaluation. I’d invite your contributions as well.

Dr. David Michaelson chairs the Institute for Public Relations Research Fellows, a body established by the Board of Trustees to provide overall guidance for our research program. Michaelson, President of Echo Research, also keynoted the 2009 International Public Relations Research Conference with the topic, “Setting Best Practices in Public Relations Research.”

David proposes 10 best practices for public relations research in two key areas:

Research Methods
• Clear and well defined research objectives
• Rigorous research design that meets highest standards of research methods
• Reliable research results demonstrated by statistical testing
• Detailed supporting documentation for full transparency

Quality and Substance Of Findings
• Demonstrates effectiveness of public relations activities
• Public relations outputs linked to outcomes
• Findings aid in development of better communications programs
• Data demonstrates impact on business outcomes
• Cost effective
• Applicable to a broad range of public relations activities

Each best practice incorporates a guideline to help researchers and practitioners make smarter choices.

By engaging not only the Institute’s measurement commission but a broad range of thoughtful practitioners, academics and researchers, we hope to arrive at a set of best practices that have broad acceptance across the public relations field. Post up your thoughts here or on the Institute website, but please join the discussion.

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