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Research priorities for public relations: The Asia Pacific insights from an international Delphi study

Author(s): Tom Watson

Journal: PRism Online PR Journal
ISSN 1448-4404

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1 ;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: public relations | research | Synnott and McKie | McElreath | relationships | evaluation | management of relationships

This Delphi study reviewed the research priorities for public relations research on an international scale. There was strong participation by academics, practitioners, and professional leaders in Australasia and, to a lesser extent, Asia, among the international panel of experts. The study itself was the first to be completed since the Australian/New Zealand team of Synnott and McKie in 1997, which was based on earlier studies in the United States by McElreath (1980, 1989 & 1994). This study found that Asia-Pacific research priorities were broadly in line with the rest of the world. The role of public relations in the strategic operation of organisations, and the creation of value by public relations through social capital and relationships, were ranked as the top two priorities. Some outcomes were comparable with earlier studies; for instance, evaluation of public relations programmes ranked third in this study and was also among the leaders in the most recent similar study. Only ‘management of relationships’ was wholly new. The findings set important directives for the next decade of research, ensuring that students, academics, professional bodies, and other researchers spend their research resources wisely by targeting the areas which are most needed by the discipline.
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