Research, Research and More Research.

In the past year I have come to realize how important researching truly is, especially in the PR field.

When I first came to college I was a music education major, but after my first semester decided I love music but teaching it is not for me. I went undeclared for a semester and stumbled upon public relations. While I did not know a lot about it, I soon discovered through research what it is. I also got hands-on experience before I even changed my major to PR while I was a stage manager for a play my theater teacher was directing. Needless to say, here I am today, very passionate about my major and very sure with what I want to do with my life.

The point of the rant I just went on about changing my major is that while I was a music major my professors did not say how important research is, while in PR research is one of the most important things you can do and professors stress that to me all of the time. You have to stay on top of the industry and follow the trends. This is a very competitive field, and being a college student I can gladly say I research a lot. When I run across something interesting in the New York Times or on CNN I usually dig deeper to see what I can find.

Not only do you need to research news stories, but when working with a client it is vital to research the client before you begin working with them. Know as much as you can before the initial meeting and bring questions to them. They should not have to spend half of the hour you get with them explaining what they do. Also, when applying for jobs researching companies you apply to is key. A company is unlikely to hire you if you do not even know what it is they do. Find out if they are involved with social media, what their most current projects are and so on. Impress them in the interview. They do not want to be questioned about what their company is by someone applying for a job. They want to ask you the questions!

Research, research, research! Even if you are not in public relations, research the field you are in. Stay on top of it, because nine times out of ten it changes regularly. Do not be left in the dark, research!

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16 thoughts on “Research, Research and More Research.

  1. Victoria says:

    I changed my major too, and I completely agree! Our PR professors stress how important research is in any field, but a lot of other departments don’t tell their students to keep up with career trends. I’m taking a PR Research class during my final semester of undergrad and I couldn’t be more excited about it. It’s so important to know what’s changing, what’s acceptable and what’s not.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. ashleyfunderburk says:

    Victoria, thanks for the comment!

    I think it is so crazy that other departments do not tell their students to research! Now that I research I can see that my music professors not telling me to was really hurting me. Knowing career trends is very important, especially in times like we’ve currently had with the economy.

    I wish my university offered a PR Research class! That would be great to take!

  3. Sarah says:

    I totally agree with you, and I think that is what sets good PR students apart from great ones, especially since research takes initiative. I think part of the reason I love PR so much is because of all the research I get to do throughout the week. It really makes me giddy to realize that I get to read, Google and explore countless topics for hours each week.

    But then again… I suspect I am a complete nerd. 🙂

  4. Melody says:

    Great blog post. Lots of words of wisdom there. Your advice to research a client holds true for every profession. You’ve got to know what your prospective employer is involved in, and exactly what they’re doing. You can’t expect to get hired by being sloppy.

  5. Jim says:

    I think you are sooo right. RESEARCH is incredibly underestimated. Although, right now I am getting kind of bored of the research, but maybe that’s just the student in me ready to be done with school 🙂

  6. ashleyfunderburk says:

    Thanks Melody! It really is true for every profession and I never realized that until I started majoring in PR. If you don’t know who your prospective employer why should they hire you? Being sloppy and not knowing gets you no where.

  7. ashleyfunderburk says:

    Thanks for the comment Jim!

    It really is! I started thinking about it right before about a week before I wrote this post and realized a lot of people do not discuss the importance of research, even though we all know how important it really is! What are you studying?

  8. Lady_Xpressi0ns says:

    I agree with you! I got my degree in Psychology and what I know I took from my major is research! We stayed upon research and did research papers. So I am definitely no stranger when it comes down to that. I need to research more because it is to keep up with the updated trends. I also agree that if you don’t research a job you can’t expect them to hire you. Being apart of a co-ed Business Fraternity called Alpha Kappa Psi has taught me the importance of researching companies you are interested in applying to. Research is important in general. Interesting topic. Thanks for sharing. By the way, what instrument did or do you play? I was in the band for 4 years.

  9. ashleyfunderburk says:

    Thanks for the comment! 🙂

    That’s awesome that you got your degree in Psychology. I bet you did have a lot of research on your plate in college! I have heard about the frat you are in as well. It seems like a great one (if I was ever for some reason going to join haha) because they taught you guys how to prepare which is so important!

    I played clarinet, trumpet and french horn! When I came to college I majored on horn and still play it every fall in horn choir! Love my music 🙂

  10. Bo says:

    So true. With Google, Wikipedia & the rest of the internet, there’s no excuse not to research! It’s so easy nowadays!

  11. reloncation says:

    My Research and Methods in PR class was a HUGE awakening for me! I never realized there was so much research that went into the more “fun” parts of Communications and Advertising. Unfortunately it’s not my strongest point either, so I gotta keep working on it! Great points!

  12. ashleyfunderburk says:

    There really is a lot of research that goes in everything PR related, and really just about any other industry. I love doing research and learning new things. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  13. Chase Adams says:

    Great post Ashley!

    Research should be key in any field!

    I graduated with a degree in Environmental Science, so I know that science without research is science fiction.

    With PR & science, the research is more important for validating your point, they’re meant to be objective studies. Psychology & music are subjective, they’re “soft” studies, studies that require the approval of the observer.

    At least, that’s how most people see it. You’re right that all studies could benefit from using research…especially the subjective studies.

    Looking forward to getting caught up on my reading here. Keep up the good work.

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