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Introduction to PR Research Based on information from S. Zhou & W.D. Sloan (Eds.). (2011). “Research Methods in Communication” Dr. LaRae M. Donnellan,

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to PR Research Based on information from S. Zhou & W.D. Sloan (Eds.). (2011). “Research Methods in Communication” Dr. LaRae M. Donnellan,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to PR Research Based on information from S. Zhou & W.D. Sloan (Eds.). (2011). “Research Methods in Communication” Dr. LaRae M. Donnellan, APR, CPRC School of Journalism & Graphic Communication Florida A&M University Spring 2012

2 What is “research”? Casual definition? “Real” research must be: Rigorous and systematic (

3 Persuasive Appeals Logos = Appeals based on logic or reason Pathos = Appeals based on emotion Ethos = Appeals based on a person’s 3 C’s: character, charisma, control (

4 Ways of Knowing Knowing by authority Seek information from “experts” “Experts” sometimes disagree Generalize expertise? ( woods-own-gatorade.html)

5 Ways of Knowing Knowing by personal experience Through five senses Direct knowledge Subject to bias (“The Round Robin: Politics and Government,”

6 Ways of Knowing Knowing by tenacity Willing to accept something as true because it has seemed “right” for a long time Tradition, habits, superstition ( come-from#index/10)

7 Ways of Knowing Knowing by intuition Fast and quick Hunches and gut feelings First impressions ( intuition/)

8 Ways of Knowing Knowing by the scientific method Systematic and rigorous Minimize influence of bias or prejudice Replicable (

9 Scientific Method Science is: public objective empirical systematic cumulative (

10 Types of Knowledge Propositional: Have processed information and are aware of knowledge Acquaintance: Have acquired through actual contact How-to: Have procedural knowledge “I know PR.” (

11 Types of Research Exploratory vs. explanatory Exploratory: What are social media? Explanatory: Do social media affect people’s perceptions of presidential candidates? ( strategies/)

12 Types of Research Inductive vs. deductive Inductive: Observe, collect data, generalize Deductive: Start with theory then predict The “circle of science” Inductive & deductive Replicated research Cumulative findings (

13 Types of Research Basic vs. applied Basic: Focuses on building or refuting theories Applied: Focuses on solving specific problems Issue: How do people learn? (

14 Types of Research Quantitative vs. qualitative Quantitative: Assumes there is an objective, single reality; uses numbers to count that reality Qualitative: Assumes there are many realities; focuses on things other than numbers (

15 How People Perceive Reality Positivism vs. constructivism Positivist: Evidence gathered through senses; as an outsider, classifies and quantifies data; constructs statistical models Constructivist: People construct multiple realities based on context; as an insider, lets multiple methodologies emerge (

16 Research Steps #1-#3 Identify topic Do literature review Select research design Experiment, survey, focus group, content analysis, benchmarking, SWOT analysis, etc. ( last/#.TwoievnxXVo

17 Hypotheses vs. Research Q’s Hypotheses Dependent variable: What you measure Independent variable: What you manipulate H1: People who live in a clean environment and lead a healthful lifestyle live longer than those who don’t Research questions What affects longevity? Who lives the longest? Does race/age matter? Theories Explanation based on observation, experi- mentation & reasoning, used to explain & predict natural phenomena. ( solo-un.html)

18 Research Steps #4-#6 Collect data Analyze data Draw conclusions Internal validity: Measure what you say you are External validity: Results generalizable to larger setting/public ( index.pdf)

19 Research Steps #7-#8 Report results Replicate findings “One study does not prove anything.” (Zhou, p. 20) Reliability = The extent to which the instrument yields the same results on repeated trials ( internet-reliable-nowadays/)

20 Communication Research History Early research more like reporting Historical and descriptive Auguste Comte, French philosopher Promoted positivism (emphasis on empirical research through the senses) Ralph Nafziger Promoted quantitative research in the 1940s-1950s Foundations got into the act Supported quantitative research Payne Fund: How movies affect children ( Auguste Comte

21 Communication Research History 1920s-1930s Were the media causing or at least exacerbating the problems of organized crime, juvenile delinquency? – Empirical research used to see if this were true. J.B. Watson: Stimulus-response W.I. Thomas & Gordon Allpert: Attitudes Are people predisposed to respond a certain way? Can ads influence attitudes toward products and increase sales? Attitude scales developed. (

22 Communication Research History 1940s Paul Lazarsfeld – Empirical studies of media effects Robert Merton – Focus groups Herta Herzog – Media “gratification” Joseph Klapper – Media reinforce, not cause/change WW II Carl Hovland – Propaganda Moved research from just studying differences in attitudes to studying how propaganda changes attitudes ( posters)

23 Communication Research History Content analysis: Early 20 th century focus on content of newspapers, movies Harold D. Lasswell – Mass media content (Hierarchy of Needs) 1950s-1960s Focus on quantitative research in journalism/communication programs at universities Ph.D. became more important hiring criterion Growth of professional associations ( association_spotlights_cclp_research_on_funding_the_news.html)

24 Communication Research History 1970s-1990s Re-emergence of qualitative research Cultural studies Blending of quantitative and qualitative But they reflect different worldviews Triangulation – Richer results ( Collection@-Building-a-Valid-and-Reliable-Data-Collection-Plan.aspx)

25 Review Define the three types of persuasive appeal. Describe the five ways of knowing. Define the difference between a hypothesis and a research question. Describe the eight steps of doing research. Describe the difference between quantitative and qualitative research. Give examples of each. Briefly describe how communication research has evolved over time. ( how-to-get-a-pr-job/)

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