Public relations evaluation: survey of Australian practitioners

Thomas Watson, Peter Denyer-Simmons

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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Abstract

The first major survey of Australian public relations (PR) practitioners' evaluation practices and attitudes since 1993 shows a picture of a media relations-centric approach. Watson and Simmons' online survey was undertaken in November-December 2003, mainly among members of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), which is the peak national professional body. They used a questionnaire based on surveys undertaken with similar cohorts in the UK during the 1990s. The data suggest some increase in research and evaluation activity has occurred, but the focus remains on outputs, not outcomes, of communication. Media coverage monitoring and media content analysis dominate research methods used to plan, monitor and evaluate PR communication. 89% of practitioners reported often or always measuring the volume of communication, just 32% often or always measure resulting changes in behaviour. The data show that UK and Australia attitudes are broadly similar, although local attitudes suggest that cost is much less of a barrier to evaluation than a lack of time and knowledge. Analysis of attitudes and 74 responses to an open-ended question suggest that lack of research skill confidence, longing to show bottom-line results, and frustration at decision-makers' misunderstanding of PR, make evaluation a cause of anguish for many practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaking a Difference
Subtitle of host publicationAustralia and New Zealand Communication association Annual Conference(ANZCA 2004)
EditorsAnne Dunn
Place of PublicationOnline
PublisherANZCA
Pages1-17
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)1864877146
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventAustralia and New Zealand Communication association Annual Conference - Sydney University, Australia
Duration: 07 Jul 200409 Jul 2004

Conference

ConferenceAustralia and New Zealand Communication association Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryAustralia
Period07/07/0409/07/04

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