Since your public relations proposal will be grounded in your research results, the timely completion of this deliverable is critical to your successful completion of this course. Please let me know how I can help!
Students will submit a summary of about 10-12 pages about their secondary and primary research and analysis of the client organization and its public relations situation.
Part One: There are two separate sections to the Secondary Research part of this deliverable. Please label each section. Each missing section will result in a 25% deduction of your grade for this deliverable.
Section A: Conduct research for an Internal Factors Analysis to provide:
a comprehensive understanding of the client organization;
a description of the public relations situation it is currently experiencing and should communicate about and/or act on;
the issues relevant to the organization and its mission (for example: issues relevant to the American Diabetes Association include health care, insurance, patient advocacy, obesity, etc.), and;
its stakeholders, and the attitudes and behaviors of likely target publics vis-à-vis the issues of concern to the client.
Feel free to organize this section with subheads that represent each area, i.e. organization, issues, stakeholders.
After you have fully reported the existing data, summarize this situation in a problem statement from the organization’s internal perspective. Analyze the situation: What are the implications of the situation for the organization? Are those implications positive or negative? What about for its stakeholder and likely target publics? Consider these implications in light of the organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (a SWOT analysis).
It will be important to find any quantitative data that will allow you to set benchmarks for your program objectives. Legal and ethical aspects of the situation also should be considered, if appropriate.
Your research sources for this Internal Factors Analysis should include print and online publications in the mass media, trade press, academia, etc. This can also include insights from the client meeting (cited as Personal Communication, as per Purdue Owl (please see course content for more info). You must cite at least five different sources of information in this part of the research report. Some sources may be internal to the organization (e.g., press releases found on the organization’s website); some may be external (e.g., media articles). Utilize UMUC’s databases or head out into the wild blue yonder that is the Internet.
Section B: Conduct an analysis of media coverage of the client organization, situation, relevant issues, and similar/competing organizations for the External Factors Analysis.
Building on the Internal Factors Analysis, turn your critical thinking and analytical skills to reviewing and analyzing media coverage of the situation (external sources: meaning, this should not include the communication created by the organization or its social media). Don’t just quote; interpret and critically think about the implications of the media coverage. Analyze within articles/coverage (microanalysis) and across multiple articles/coverage (macroanalysis). Are there positive or negative trends in the coverage? Trends in newspaper coverage versus broadcast coverage? Coverage by expert bloggers or social media influencers?
Mention media sources; list the number of hard news reports or opinion pieces, categorized by types of media covering the situation; describe editorial tone of coverage (e.g., pro, con or neutral); summarize issues that emerged in coverage; and assess possible impact of coverage. Quote headlines and text (judiciously, as per the APA’s suggestions about using quotes) to support your analysis.
You may include as many news items in a macrolevel analysis as you want (“A Google news search turned up 367 articles about the Toyota gas pedal recall as of <date>.”). You must offer an in-depth microlevel analysis of at least three news/editorial items in Section B. These must be wholly different news items – primary sources — not the same basic Associated Press article picked up by five different newspapers or online media outlets.
You may use the same media articles for your Internal and External Factors Analyses – double-dipping is OK!
Part Two: Conduct primary research in the form of in-depth interviews to gather primary qualitative information from at least three people who arguably have valuable perspectives or opinions to share that will help you shape your campaign proposal. Ideally, these people will reflect the “profile” of any one of your anticipated target publics for your campaign plan. As such, the interviews will give you insight into attitudes of target publics toward your client organization, the public relations situation, and potential communication strategies and tactics that you may recommend as part of your plan. You will develop the interview questions and should administer them to achieve a conversational-styled qualitative interview, rather than the administration of a survey questionnaire.
Ideally, your interview subjects will be members of your target publics. However, you can also interview subjects who closely fit the description of the target publics. For example, if you want to interview volunteers but don’t have access to the client’s volunteers, choose volunteers from an organization that is similar in size, mission, etc. The client’s leadership or your contact at the organization are not interview subjects, but are sources for information in the Secondary Research of this deliverable
In this section, you should briefly summarize the details of the interviews (while protecting interviewee’s privacy – no names are necessary): General demographics of the interviewees and your rationale for choosing these people to participate in your primary research.. Then you need to crunch the qualitative data you collected: What were the interviewees’ answers to your questions? Any trends or themes across the interviews? Any contrary views across interviews or to what you expected? Please paraphrase and limit direct quotes to those that are particularly pithy, well-articulated, or pack that extra “punch.”
This primary purpose of this section is to REPORT RESULTS and present YOUR ANALYSIS of the interviews. DO NOT assume that the client will refer to additional materials (i.e. transcripts, which are not required) in the appendices.
Your interview questions/protocol should be attached as an appendix, but will not count toward the page length recommendations for this deliverable.
Please consult with me ASAP if you’d rather convene a focus group (qualitative) or conduct simple quantitative research (e.g., administer a questionnaire via Survey Monkey to a small-sized sample).
At the end of this section, please conclude with a summary overview of both Part One and Two. What are the most important factors learned from the primary and secondary research you conducted? How will this information provide direction and set the tone for your campaign?
For more information on American Diabetes Association read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Diabetes_Association
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