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Evaluation in use: The practitioner view of effective evaluation

Author(s): Robina Xavier | Amisha Mehta | Anne Gregory

Journal: PRism Online PR Journal
ISSN 1448-4404

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: public relations | evaluation | public relations success | Macnamara | Walker | Watson & Simmons | Xavier | Patel & Johnston | organisational outcomes

While the academic literature has paid much attention to public relations evaluation over the past decade (Baskin, Aronoff & Lattimore, 1997; Cutlip, Center & Broom, 2006; Dozier & Repper, 1992; Walker, 1994; Watson, 2001), many studies have suggested practitioner use of evaluation methods remains limited (Gregory, 2001; Macnamara, 2002; Pieczka, 2000; Pohl & Vandeventer, 2001; Walker, 1994; Watson, 1997). Although practitioners use both formal and informal methods to evaluate their effectiveness (Walker, 1994; Watson, 2001), it is unclear how their reporting of public relations success measures up to actual achievement of organisational outcomes.This study of approximately 70 practitioners builds on four major Australian studies of evaluation use (Macnamara, 2002; Walker, 1994; Watson & Simmons, 2004; Xavier, Patel & Johnston, 2004) to identify the evaluation patterns of public relations practitioners including the major focus of their evaluation efforts, the use of evaluation to demonstrate organisational outcomes and the barriers to further evaluation. Utilising the trends identified by the four studies, a set of initiatives are proposed to encourage practitioners to extend their evaluation activities and thereby support their claims to enhanced performance.
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