Why are we Doing all this Research?

What is research? We all, by now, should know what research is. We use it in class to write essays, complete homework, and to obtain information about facts. However, research cannot only be used for college pupils, so what really is research? Imminently I decide to google search the definition of research, not because I don’t know what it is, but because I need a better understanding of what this term pertains. The definition of “research” defined by Merriam-Webster is, “The careful study that is done to find and report new knowledge about something.” So in real terms, I just did research on the term research…

Research is used for everything- in normal everyday life and in the lives of public relation professionals. Public relation individuals research simple things, like the directions to a restaurant to meet a client, history about a product, or even about current events that pertain to their clients.

There are many ways research is beneficial in the world of public relations, and why it is conducted at all. Tom Watson, writer of Journal of Communication Management, conducted a Delphi study on public relations research priorities. Watson stated that research gives some valuable insights into research of public relations and allows academic and practitioners to improve their understanding of what public relations is (Watson, 2008). Relating to my recent blog post, Public Relations: Imagine, I had to form basic research to even understand what public relations is all about. We are not all geniuses and walking dictionaries, we must research to get better insights and understandings of things, and the world around us.

When the 2010 B.P. oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, public relations personnel had to do extensive research of what happened during the nation-known disaster. Likewise, they had to reach-out to customers of B.P. and find out what the consumers wanted the company to do. This process included what the target audience wanted to see, including how B.P. fixed the disaster. Stated by CNN, B.P. decided to spend $20 billion funds to help the victims affected by the spill (CNN, 2015). Public relation workers had to conduct research on ways to advertise the companies outreach. I can even predict a public relations individual googled images and watched the news on the event, which can be considered research due to the definition that, “finding and reporting new knowledge about something,” is research.

The future world of public relations is ever-changing, and with that, we must continue extensive research to provide our clients with up-to-date information and data. The Global Public Relations Handbook: Theory, Research, and Practice book stated, “The challenge for scholars is to provide the industry with the knowledge base that can help propel the profession toward greater sophistication and effectiveness,” (Sriramesh & Vercic, 2008). Research is essential for the current and future growth of the public relations industry, and without it, we would be stuck with the information/skills from ancient dates of when public relations started.

So, when you’re pulling our your I-Phone to find the nearby Starbucks, type into Google who won the football game, or even find a phone number to order Jets Pizza at 2 a.m., you’re doing research. Feeling somewhat proud-huh?


Krishnamurthy, Sriramesh & Dejan, Vercic. (2008). The global public relations handbook: theory, research, and practice. XXXV.

Oil spill fast facts. (2015). CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/search/?text=BP+OIL+SPILL

Watson, T. (2008). Public relation research priorities: a Delphi study. The Journal of Communication Management.


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