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PRL2012 Public Relations Research Methods

Semester 2, 2020 Online
Short Description: Public Relations Rsch Mthds
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities & Communication
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 100700 - Communication & Media Studies
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Chris Kossen


Students who have completed PRL3012 are not permitted to enrol in PRL2012.

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


This course provides students with an understanding or key issues considered critical to conducting public relations and social research. In addition it facilitates the development of knowledge and skills required to embark on and manage public relations research. The ability to conduct and manage public relations research is regarded as crucial for public relations graduates in the current environment. This course advances public relations skills and knowledge acquired in prior public relations courses.


Public relations research projects require variously a range of methods, both qualitative and quantitative. The researcher needs to be able to identify a research problem, decide on research objectives and select appropriate method/s to carry out the research. This course examines, from both practical and critical perspectives, a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods relevant to professional needs in the public relations field. These methods include focus groups, content analysis, in-depth interview and survey methods.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. explain the significance of research in public relations in relation to wider social, political and professional considerations;
  2. conduct public relations archival research and literature review and thereby demonstrate advanced research and information literacy skills;
  3. evaluate qualitative and quantitative research data, in the context of public relations and methodological conventions;
  4. understand and apply concepts and processes related to quality assurance in the conduct of different types of public relations research;
  5. understand key ethical issues associated with public relations research and apply processes required to meet accepted ethical standards;
  6. produce assessment work that adheres to disciplinary and professional standards and conventions.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Formulating research aims in public relations research 10.00
2. Conducting public relations archival research and literature reviews 10.00
3. Overview of qualitative and quantitative approaches to public relations research and research paradigms 10.00
4. Qualitative research methods: interview techniques and focus group techniques 10.00
5. Quantitative research methods: sampling, surveys, questionnaire design and statistical reliability 15.00
6. Data analysis: quantitative and qualitative public relations research methods 15.00
7. Quality assurance in quantitative and qualitative public relations research 10.00
8. Writing and reporting of research results in public relations 10.00
9. Ethical issues in social research and meeting ethical standards 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Blaikie, N 2018, Designing social research: the logic of anticipation, 3rd edn, Polity Press, Malden.
Asian Journal of Communication 302.2 P7 - online.
Australian Journal of Communication 302.2 P2 - online.
Communication Research 302.2072 P1 - online.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 26.00
Independent Study 139.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
TAKE HOME EXAM 100 40 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. This will be a take home exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S2 2020 are: To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

    Requirements after S2, 2020:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S2 2020 are: To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S2, 2020:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S2 2020 are: An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

    Requirements after S2, 2020:
    This is a closed examination. Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into a closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S2 2020 are: The details regarding deferred/supplementary examinations will be communicated at a later date.

    Requirements after S2, 2020:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.

Date printed 6 November 2020