The Institute for Public Relations (IPR) is an independent nonprofit foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. We focus on research that matters to the practice, providing timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. We do this through three kinds of research:
- Research in public relations, to guide and evaluate communications programs (in other words, planning research and measurement)
- Research on public relations, to understand what we do and how we do it (benchmarking and best practices)
- Research for public relations – the social science underpinnings of our work
Our involvement in the first kind is driven primarily by IPR’s Commission on Public Relations Measurement & Evaluation and its standard-setting efforts. Our involvement in the second kind is typically in partnership with other organizations, including universities and trade groups. But it is the third kind – the fundamental research of our field – that Trustees believe is the most distinctive of the three and should be our primary focus.
The current priority topics set by the Board (which, of course, can change over time) are:
- What drives choice and changes behavior? What can we draw from behavioral sciences, sociology, psychology and neuropsychology to apply to public relations practice? What are the emotional and rational drivers of belief, commitment and behavior? How do different stakeholders – and different generations – process differently in this regard?
- Organizational communication. Our Commission on Organizational Communication [FO4] is developing an agenda as knowledge aggregator, model innovator and thought leader in the area of employee engagement.
- A broader context for social networking and what it means. While others churn out benchmarking, best practices and metrics around social media – and IPR has a role in aggregating that knowledge – our main interest is digging deeper into the true mechanisms of relationship-building, trust, influence and the socialization of ideas across the fragmented world of social networking.
- Restoring reputation in an environment of extremely low trust. Beyond the benchmark trust studies that track ups and downs, what can we learn from the deeper social science of trust? What reliable data exist to identify the levers that most influence reputation today? What is the future of organizational trust in a younger, G-20 world?
- Models to predict the probability of public relationship outcomes. Across countries and cultures, audiences and generations, what are the research-proven models to reliably predict whether and when public relations can affect outcomes?