The evolution of evaluation – the accelerating march towards the measurement of public relations effectiveness.

Watson, T., 2011. The evolution of evaluation – the accelerating march towards the measurement of public relations effectiveness. In: International History of Public Relations Conference 2011, 6-7 July 2011, Bournemouth University, Poole, England, pp. 398-412.

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Abstract

The measurement and evaluation of public relations effectiveness has long been a major professional and research issue (White and Blamphin 1994; Synnott and McKie 1997). Recently Watson (2008) found that it still ranked third in an international study of public relations research priorities. In the first half of the last century, there was little reference to it. The first major scholarly reference came in Cutlip and Center’s first edition of Effective Public Relations (1952) which implies there was some prior discussion but there is little evidence. It was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that the first US conference and professional publications on the topic were evidenced. The first scholarly journal special issue devoted to it, ‘Measuring the Effectiveness of Public Relations’ was published as the Winter 1977 edition of Public Relations Review. There was a burgeoning of academic and professional discussion from the mid-1980s onwards. Also the major consultancy groups started to introduce proprietary media measurement systems (e.g. Hill and Knowlton, 1979; Ketchum, 1982; CARMA, 1984). By the end of the decade there was a growing body of knowledge from academic and professional sources which led into a wide, international expansion of publications and services in the 1990s. Professional bodies in Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and United States, as well as the International Public Relations Association, all formed task forces and prepared publications. Measurement and evaluation had at last arrived as a central professional issue. Document analysis will be the main research method to prepare the timeline of the development of public relations measurement evaluation through. This paper will also explore the theoretical and professional themes that have characterised the development of theory and methodology in this important public relations practice.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:evaluation, history, measurement, public relations,
Subjects:Social Sciences > Communication, Cultural and Media Studies
History
Group:Media School
ID Code:19076
Deposited By:Prof Tom Watson
Deposited On:21 Dec 2011 16:48
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:51

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