This is my first entry in what I hope will become a reoccurring event, most likely several times a month blog. I’ve blogged before—on measurement in particular—and stopped when I realized the only ones following me were other measurement bloggers for the same organization (which will remain anonymous). So, why a blog now? Is it because I can’t say “No!” (even to myself)? Probably. Is it because I have something to say or comment on? Hopefully. Is it because I think others think that I think I have something to say that will benefit them? Even more hopefully. Or, is it all of the above? Most likely.
Why “Stacks on Research”? Because “Stacks of Research” was already taken and what I hope to pursue over the weeks is a larger discussion of the research process. While I will touch on different channels, which I consider the social media to be a part, my commentary will focus on the larger elements of research: basic methodology and how it should be used, appropriate measurement techniques (to include some history; contemporary measurement goes back at least 300+ years), and evaluation techniques and processes. I will also comment on ethical issues in research, especially those that may end up changing how the profession views practices and even ethics.
One of the areas that concerns me most as both an academic and someone who has judged hundreds of campaign competitions for various awards is three-fold. First, there seems to be confusion about goals and objectives in general and overall objectives and research objectives in particular (they aren’t often reported). Second, there are advantages and disadvantages of different methods in gathering data—to include cost factors and generalizability of findings. Third, how do we evaluate a campaign—how do we define success, excellence, and adding to the bottom line? Should we consider return on investment in campaign evaluation (can we prove impact)? Those of you who have read my books know my answer to that.
Finally, as Chair of the Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation and Trustee of the Institute for Public Relations, I will be focusing on research standards, standard-setting, best practices, and how all three contribute to an objective evaluation of how well we did what we set out to do.
Next: What is the research process and how should it be approached?