1. Tell us a little about your background with public relations research.

My academic qualifications and my work experience form a strong base for my research in public relations and communication management. I finished a master’s degree with emphasis in public relations in India and worked with the Government of India before I came to U.S. to pursue my second masters with emphasis in strategic communication from the University of Oklahoma (OU). While at OU, I worked with the Institute for Research and Training. I then worked with Burson-Marsteller in Bangalore, India. As a Ph.D. student in mass communication with a specialization in public relations at the University of Florida, I have worked with scholars who understand and are experts in applied and academic research. I have worked on projects, presented my work at conferences, written book chapters, and have worked with practitioners who greatly informed my research.

2. What led you to take the position as Director of Research for the Institute for Public Relations?

IPR’s mission and ideology of understanding the science beneath the art of public relations is what encouraged me the most to take this important position with the Institute. The focus of the organization to conduct research that matters to the practice, and provide insights and applied intelligence that professionals can use has been my research agenda as well. IPR has gathered, sponsored, and shared relevant studies and papers on various topics with professionals and students all over the world that have further advanced the field of public relations.

3. What is your stance on the relationship between public relations theory, research and practice?

Academic theories and conceptualizations can provide an essential framework for practitioners to use when coping with their day-to-day operations. Especially in public relations, the importance of applied research is critical, directly effecting public relations’ role in management decision making, basic planning, implementation, and even evaluation of public relations programs. Moreover, the complex problems the practice faces require well-informed inquiry and a multidisciplinary approach to help comprehend, explain, and forecast situations affecting organizations and publics.

4. What are you most looking forward to in your work at IPR?

I am looking forward to working with practitioners and scholars to advance the field of public relations. IPR is well placed to facilitate documented discussions about the present and future direction of public relations research in both academia and practice, to bring together two unique worldviews on public relations research, and to support research that matters to the practice.

5. What has being a practitioner taught you about research needs?

The field of public relations is changing incredibly quickly and we need research to help contextualize those changes. As a practitioner, I learnt the business challenges practitioners face on a regular basis and the role of research in addressing those challenges. As a practitioner who experienced higher education, I also learned that academia could inform the practice through sound and timely research.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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2 thoughts on “Welcome Message from IPR Director of Research Sarab Kochhar

  1. Good to see Sarab become Director – best wishes. Hope her research will help practitioners like me from India consider some more work and hopefully encourage us to write & publish our papers as well on IPR. Since our efforts are NOT with academic rigour, more often than not – they get rejected by Journals in Communications.
    Am based in Hyderabad, India and have been associated with News Reporting, Public Relations & Corporate Communications since 1993 and presently run a small consulting firm offering Reputation Advisory services to clients. My attempts in research include three abstracts accepted for international conference, one presented in KL and presently writing another one on Social Media & Society – Governance: Case Study of Hyderabad for 23rd AMIC Conference in Bangkok in July 2014

  2. This is a great new. I am sure the work of Dr. Kochhar at the Institute will enrich the global academic and professional community of PR.

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