Don Stacks 2009 smallThis 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?

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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19 thoughts on “Stacks on Research

  1. Thanks for all nice comments on this site and sent to my personal email addresses. I hope to have the first “real” blog on the basics of research (“Beginning at the Beginning”) sometime in the next two weeks. I look forward to an exchange of ideas as we continue our movement to “proving it with action,” as my Arthur W. Page friends would say. Thanks, too, to Jenn Moyer for her help in getting the blog on its way.

  2. Congratulations Don.
    Looking forward to reading and discussing on your research and meansurement concepts.
    We, MM Communication Trisakti University, are very proud of you.

  3. Mr. Stacks,
    Congratulations on your election as Chair of IPR’s Commission on PR Measurement and Evaluation. It is really refreshing to be learning from someone who is currently active in the subject you are taking a class on. I have learned so much in the my class on Research Methods for Public Relations and Public Affairs Managers at GWU. Your book has opened my ideas to research and importance it should have in our field.

  4. Spot-on, Don, as usual. I look forward to the goal and objective discussion and where strategy fits in the process. There seems to be a “chicken and egg” which comes first situation a brew in that not all academics agree on the same answer.

  5. Congratulations Don!! Now there is one more channel that I can continue learning from you, a great leader, mentor, and wise man! I feel so proud to have been your advisee! Look forward to reading more of your thoughts on research and measurement!

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Don. I think that much of this question depends on how we define success — goal attainment? Organizational effectiveness? Cost savings? Relationships? I see our role as one involving more and more strategy. Great work!

  7. Thanks Don for providing your perspective(s) on this fundamentally important topic and area of practice — research. I look forward to your ongoing contributions and insights.

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