Research is definitely not the most fun part in the realm of communications. However, it’s the stepping stone to the substance of any strategy, and it’s crucial to the success of reaching client goals and doing the best possible work. Focus groups and GVSU’s library database are the basis of our undergraduate years and for good reason. The skills we’re cultivating when it comes to research will follow us throughout our careers. So, yes, while it isn’t the most exciting, it could very well be the most important piece of PR. Let’s discuss.

Realization About Research 

Since I’ve begun my internship at 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications, I have quickly realized that research is for real. Writing blogs, social strategy for clients, media lists — it all requires research. Much of my time is allocated toward finding evidence behind best practices and reading what people have to say about the growing industry and successful tactics. 

I even wrote a blog, Observations From a PR Newbie, about my early thoughts of working a real job for the first time, and, you guessed it! I discussed the need for knowledge in areas I never thought necessary. It’s been eye opening to see the actual need for something we’re discussing in the classroom.

So, Let’s Get Into It

We can be honest with each other — research can be boring! Sometimes the cover of an academic journal sends me spiraling and I have to reel myself in. So, how do I combat this? I’ve made my own little system: determining keywords, understanding which sources to utilize, and knowing it’s okay to take a break. 

The first step is to understand what you’re looking for and what the client needs. Break it down into sections and start searching! Once you have the basis down, get into credible databases and sources to ensure the quality. And finally, don’t burn yourself out. Sometimes a coffee break is what you need to get that boost of energy to drive right back into it.

Tell Me Again Why It Matters? 

Communications is all about meeting objectives and building relationships. Evidence is necessary to build the strategy for what your client needs and how best to do so. We’re all on the same page that it can be trivial and simply not fun, but it really is the best way to do our jobs and provide quality work. I never thought about how the skills I was accumulating would set me up for literal success in the real world.

So, say it with me: Research is important and necessary. Whether we like it or not, our professors make some really good points when it comes to being prepared for the real world and they have prepared us well. I don’t know about you, but I’m confident in my ability to find a solid source and run with it — sometimes all it takes is the time to sit down and do the work.

About the Author:

Emma is a senior studying Advertising/Public Relations and Writing. She is currently serving as President of the GVPRSSA Executive Board. This year is her second year involved with PRSSA and GrandPR previously as Podcast Director and Account Associate. Emma hopes to work in a PR agency after graduation (unless she lands her dream job of being Taylor Swift’s publicist). In her free time, Emma enjoys watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with her dogs, Lola & Clementine.

Twitter: @emmanelson34