We decided to write this book in 1995 when we attended the national Public Relations Society of America convention in Seattle. The sessions on measurement and evaluation were standing room only, and many conversations in the hallways focused on the same issues. Meanwhile, discussions in the trade press about the need to improve results have increased steadily over the past 10 years. We have been getting calls from organizations wanting research who have never seen the need for it before. We have had alumni reporting back to us about how valuable their course work in research and planning was for them and their organizations. Both experience and observation have taught us that research and strategic planning are powerful tools.
In this book, we have tried to put together lessons learned from both applied and academic experience. We have been privileged to learn from many excellent teachers including Chuck Atkin, Steve Chaffee, June Flora, Gina Garramone, Randall Murray, and Don Roberts. We are indebted to Jim Grunig, whose input, advice, and encouragement were critical factors in the completion of this book. We also owe many thanks to our students, who have taught us well over the past 10 years.
There are a number of other people whose special efforts have helped us make this book happen. We would like to thank the director of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, Alexis Tan, for helping us develop the confidence and expertise necessary to complete this project, and for providing support in every way he can. We also have deeply appreciated the help and humor of our colleague, Julie