JOUR 3410

Public Relations Research

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This online course is designed to equip students to perform and supervise preliminary and detailed research and manage environmental assessment in contemporary public relations practice. It fulfills the requirement for an upper level "computation intensive" course.

Course Objectives:
Knowledge Components Students should be able to:
  • Describe preliminary and detailed research procedures in the behavioral and communication sciences.
  • Explain survey research techniques, including sampling, interviewing and instrument construction.
  • Describe the tools used to analyze the results of survey research.
  • Describe how data collected from focus groups and surveys may be used to support public relations objectives.

Skill Components Students should be able to:

  • Select and apply appropriate research tools in support of public relations objectives.
  • Design and conduct preliminary research using libraries, company records and computer databases.
  • Select and apply data collection techniques including focus groups, interviewing and survey administration.
  • Frame a research question and/or write and test hypotheses.
  • Construct an SPSS file appropriate to a selected survey form.
  • Correctly enter data into SPSS.
  • Print out frequencies and do Chi Square comparisons.
  • Determine levels of significance for compared variables.
  • Analyze the results of survey research.
  • Communicate the results in a final report.

Prerequisites: none noted for this class

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements


Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course:

Supplementary Materials:

Any material required for the course will be provided or will be made available for purchase.

Hardware Requirements:

The minimum requirements can be found at

Software Requirements:

The minimum requirements can be found at

Assignments will be submitted using the following software:

  • Microsoft Word in (.doc) format
  • SPSS Version 11.0 or higher Student Copy  SPSS software that is included as a packet with your Ready, Set, Go book is not available in Mac format. You must have access to a Windows based system to complete all aspects of this course.

Instructor Information

Please see the separate page inside the course to find instructor contact information as well as a statement of virtual office hours and other communication information.

The interaction between instructor and student is a large factor in the student's success in this course. As such, it is incumbent upon the student to communicate via email and or telephone when questions arise with any aspect of the course. DO NOT HESITATE to ask questions about any issue or concern related to this course. My preference is that you communicate via email. Remember your fellow students are a great resource. Don't hesitate to use them. During real-time projects, PR professionals use every available resource to solve their client's problems.

CALL, EMAIL or REQUEST A MEETING IN PERSON if/when you become confused about any aspect of this course. I can't assist you if I don't know you have a problem.

Assessment and Grading

Testing Procedures:

All work will be completed with in the WebCT system, posting all work in designated areas. NO work is accepted if sent in personal email accounts

Grading Procedure:  The course syllabus discusses in detail issues dealing late assignments and other issues effecting the grading of your submitted work. Your group projects will be given one grade for the groups efforts.

Points will be awarded for completing the written exercises, quizzes and tests, meeting deadlines, and teacher/student communications.

Assignments and Participation

Assignments and Projects:

DESIGN: This course will emphasize problem solving. You will work individually, on many of the work requirements and in groups to accomplish other requirements.

Computation and analysis are required in this course. Assignments will require you to analyze and make sense of data. Conducting secondary research is left to your ingenuity and the legal limits of the law.

FOCUS AND DEDICATION: This course requires focus and dedication to meeting all quality requirements and deadlines. Attention to planning and execution is absolutely essential to your success in completing this course. If you are not dedicated to completing assignments you will miss deadlines. If you miss deadlines you will fall behind. The result will be that your grades will be severely impacted. In almost all cases no late work is accepted.

WEEKLY LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Through reading, browsing the Internet, reviewing text materials and handouts, you become familiar with each week's key learning points. By doing so you will build a knowledge base required to complete assignments and pass each test.

HANDOUTS AND SUPPORT MATERIALS: Handouts and support materials are provided to assist in the learning process. It is highly recommended that you download the handouts and refer to them. They provide insight into the key learning points and support in completing the assignments. Visit the websites provided in the syllabus. Take time and conduct searches for research-related sites.

MAJOR WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS, both of which are group projects.

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT -Develop a focus group discussion guide.

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT -Conduct research using the survey process for data collection to determine support for or against on "Should the State of Tennessee Ban cell phone use while driving?"

Class Schedule

The class is a 15 week semester. The class can be broken into two major areas. The first area deals with your focus group project, that will include reading and tests associated with this activity.

The second area deals with your final research project. Within this project is the use and understanding of SPSS software and applications, and tests associated with your reading.

Class Participation:

Students must participate in all interactive aspects of the course if interaction is part of the course design. For example, students must communicate with other students through WebCT's email and discussion topics, students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, students must check the course frequently for announcements, and students must actively participate in threaded discussion events.

Course Ground Rules

Students are expected to:

  • communicate with other students in team projects
  • learn how to navigate in WebCT
  • keep abreast of course announcements
  • use the assigned college or university e-mail address as opposed a personal e-mail address
  • address technical problems immediately
  • observe course netiquette at all times
  • purchase all course text books
  • ensure the proper internet and word-processing software is loaded into your computer

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members

Discussion Groups:

  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other's ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


  • Introduce yourself to the other learners in the chat session.
  • Be polite. Choose your words carefully. Do not use derogatory statements.
  • Be concise in responding to others in the chat session.
  • Be prepared to open the chat session at the scheduled time.
  • Be constructive in your comments and suggestion

Web Resources: these sites are for your review...but are not guaranteed to be active at this time.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses.

Students With Disabilities

Students with disabilities are invited to discuss special needs with me by contacting me via telephone or email to schedule a meeting that's convenient for both parties. 

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the left to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.

Technical Support

Telephone Support:

If you are having problems logging into your course, timing out of your course, using your course web site tools, or other technical problems, please contact the AskRODP Help Desk by calling

1-866-550-7637 (toll free)

or go to their Web site at: