Undergraduate students from two sections of Public Relations Research at the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication spent the semester working with a FEMA grant recipient. This research examined tornado and earthquake messaging designed by Gaylord professor, Scott Hodgson.


The students were to use four common public relations research methods to examine the following:

  1. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of Emergency Management professionals across the United States in regard to tornado/earthquake preparedness (in-depth interviews).
  2. Attitudes and perceptions of professor Hodgson’s tornado/earthquake messages (focus groups).
  3. Comparison of professor Hodgson’s tornado/earthquake messages to existing tornado/earthquake messaging (content analyses).
  4. Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of homeowners with children — the key public for the tornado/earthquake messaging (surveys).

Not only were the students to put their findings into a professional research report for the client, but they were to videotape presentations of the findings for the client.

Here are the video presentations for the tornado section:

Crimson & Cream

The Boomer Group

High 5

Research Wranglers

Here are the video presentations for the earthquake section:

Sooner Search

Crimson Creative


The Richter Group

Public Relations Research course overview:

Public relations decisions must be based on sound research. Communication campaigns without a solid research foundation cannot be strategic and will fail. This course will teach students how to read and understand communication and PR (as a part of communication) research, evaluation, and measurement. It will provide students an understanding of the relationship between theory, data collection, analysis, and communication of results. The course will also teach how to choose, design, critique, manage, and execute various methodologies used for program assessment and evaluation in the field of communication in general and the contemporary PR practice in particular.

Public Relations Research course learning objectives:

  • Become more literate consumers of communication and public relations research,
  • Be effective public relations researchers at the entry level,
  • Be able to produce a sound research report based on secondary and primary data,
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the philosophies of science and processes of inquiry,
  • Know the difference between qualitative and quantitative research and the conditions in which they are utilized,
  • Understand methods of design, measurement, reasoning, and analysis,
  • Recognize the limitations in various methodologies and in specific research,
  • Discuss ethical considerations of the research process and the research outcomes,
  • Demonstrate the ability to organize, execute, and evaluate a communication research, evaluation, and measurement program, and
  • Recognize the importance of research, evaluation, and measurement in strategic communication campaigns.

For more information on the course including a syllabus, schedule and assignments visit Mass Communication and Society’s syllabus exchange.