Social Science of Social Media Case Study Competition

case studyPURPOSE
In an effort to encourage exploration and study of the rapidly expanding realm of social media, the Social Science of Social Media Research Center (SSSM) at the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) is inviting practitioners, educators, and students to submit original case studies concerning social media and the practice of public relations.


  • To explore the use, effects, and importance of social media in corporate, organizational and agency settings regarding the field of public relations.
  • To contribute to the profession’s body of knowledge by encouraging and challenging participants to research and create case studies of social media.

Cash prizes will be awarded to authors of winning case studies. Winning entries will be housed on the SMRC site and promoted through both academic and practitioner channels.

The content of case submissions may be based on personal experiences or secondary research from corporations, nonprofit organizations, small-businesses, government entities, etc. Entries may also address any aspect of the public relations field relating to social media, including but not limited to:

  • Communication strategy
  • Reputation management
  • Media relations
  • Crisis communication
  • Issues management
  • Integrated marketing communications
  • Employee relations
  • Corporate social responsibility

A panel of judges who represent corporate, academic, and agency sectors will review all competition entries. Therefore, all case studies will be subject to a blind, peer-review, and must strictly adhere to competition guidelines. As acknowledged experts in the field, judges will evaluate the case study based on the quality of evidence and its usefulness as well as value to the profession’s body of knowledge.

Cash prizes totaling $1,750 will be presented to teams of the winning entries as follows:

  • First place: $1,000
  • Second place: $500
  • Third place: $250

Any practitioner, educators, or student (undergraduate or graduate) may participate. However, each case study team must have at a minimum one practitioner and one academic. For entries to be considered for the competition, each team should submit four separate PDF documents:

  • Completed entry form
  • 100-word abstract
  • Title page with all authors
  • Case study submission for blind review with all identifiers removed

The case study should include at a minimum the following sections

  • Introduction
  • Background/history of case/organization
  • Brief review of theory/literature
  • Methodology
  • Timeline
  • Analysis
  • Implications for the practice of public relations

Each team must submit a fully completed entry form. Case study submissions should be e-mailed as PDF documents.

The length of submitted case studies must not exceed 30 pages, including title page, abstract, tables, figures, references, and appendices. All material should be double-spaced using Times New Roman 12-point font.

The IPR Social Media Research Center is a comprehensive source for information about the social science of social media, best practices, measures and benchmarking. This research center is a continuously growing database of research articles and information about social media and its impact on public relations. With just a few steps, visitors to this site can locate abstracts of important research studies about many social media topics. Each overview summarizes a research study in about 250 words and provides specifics about its methodological approach and key findings. Then it, suggests implications for practice and includes a link to download or purchase the article.

You can download the SMRC Case Study Entry Form. If you have any further questions regarding the competition please contact Sarah Jackson, PR Associate at