Today we discussed the first step in the R.A.C.E. model, research. Research is very important in all aspects of business, but especially in the world of public relations. Research is an essential part of the entire process. It is the way to address the problem, find the appropriate solutions and information, and figure out how the research will be used.
I found this chapter very interesting, especially when learning the differences between qualitative and quantitative research. I was vaguely familiar with the concepts of these two terms, however I was not fully aware of how they relate to public relations research. Qualitative research, or “soft” data, uses open ended questions and is often fairly unstructured. Although valid, the information taken out of this kind of research is not necessarily reliable. Examples of this would be focus groups and one-on-one in depth interviews.
With quantitative research, or hard data, the information that is obtained is much more valid and reliable due to the close ended, specific questions that are asked to get the information. This type of research works better with larger audiences and generally uses random samples. Examples of this kind of research would be telephone polls, mail surveys, and face to face interviews.
Personally I believe that quantitative research is the best due to the fact that it gets the most accurate and reliable information. However, this type of research is much harder to get most of the time. It is much easier to get together a small focus group than it is to get cooperation with phone interviews or enough face to face interviews to get accurate enough data.