Public Relations Management and Campaign Design

Time: M - F (9:00 AM to 10:15 AM), Rm. AVER 104


Moon J. Lee, Ph.D.




Office Hours:

Tu/Th - 10:30 to 11:30 AM


241BB Murrow


And by appointment



Project Calendar


Course Description

The purpose of Public Relations 412 is to learn how to design an effective public relations campaign based on scientific research. This course provides an introduction to and experience with scientific research methods in public relations campaign design.

Course Objectives

This course will help you:

  1. To understand the role and importance of research in responding to potential or immerging public relations problems or utilizing potential opportunities.
  2. To obtain a keen knowledge of communication theory and to demonstrate the application of quantitative and qualitative research methods in public relations through a number of group assignments and examinations.
  3. To have an opportunity to work for a client, researching a public relations issue (one small-scale survey and a focus group) and developing a plan for a campaign or event the client can implement, and suggest ways to evaluate the program's success.
  4. To develop an effective public relations campaign.
  5. To learn how to work as a group effectively and efficiently.

These objectives will be achieved by hands-on experience with a project for a client. You will produce a high-quality report as professional (but pro-bono) consultants.

Course Requirements

Requirements include reading assigned materials, participating in class discussions and one research project (a focus group or a survey), completing two examinations (a term paper for graduate students), developing a plan for an effective campaign and a final presentation.

  • Reading Assigned Materials: There is one textbook (see below). Students are responsible for all assigned readings and material covered in class. You should read appropriate materials BEFORE the assigned class session so you can contribute to our discourse in a manner that can benefit everyone in class.

Recommended Textbook:

Austin, E. W. & Pinkleton, B. E. (2006), Strategic public relations management: Planning and managing effective communication programs, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ.

  • Class Participation: You will be expected to participate in class discussions. Your input in class will be greatly valued.
  • Research Projects: You will conduct either focus group or survey research. Your project work will be done in teams. Expect to devote considerable out-of-class time to the projects.
  • Examinations: Examinations count for 25 percent of your grade.
  • Final Presentation: During the final week of the course, each student team will make a formal presentation of their research findings to the class.

Deadline and Makeup Exams: Failure to meet group project deadlines will result in a lowered grade for the entire project team per day. A post-exam will not be given, so see me if you have a conflict with the exam time and plan to take it early.


Grading Items



Mid-Term Exam.

May 21


Background Research & Research Plan

May 25





Research Project

June 10


Final Report

June 19


Final Presentation

Differ By Group


Group Member Evaluation

To be weighed in the final report


Class Participation & Attendance



Total Points




The Mid-Term Exam (25 Percent)

Twenty five (up to forty) multiple-choice questions and two (up to four) essay questions will be given.

Research Projects & Final Reports (55 percent)

You are responsible to conduct either a focus group study or a survey as a group project.

  • You are responsible for gathering background information for the topic you chose.
  • The procedure and structure of the research project will be chosen based on your group consent.
  • In the report, you should justify why and how you used the particular method.
  • Writing should be clear.
  • Every one in your group is equally responsible for producing the final project. This means that the project will be graded as a group project.

Campaign Project Components

Agency memos: Your agency will need to meet at least once each week, usually twice and sometimes more, depending on deadlines. At each meeting, the group needs to designate a coordinator who will note attendance, keep track of decisions made, tasks assigned, deadlines set and major problems or questions facing the group. I should receive at least one memo from each group each week, preferably via an email message copied to all agency members. I'll save these (and you should, too) for assessing your individual and your agency's performances.

Research plan: This the outline of your agency's situation analysis of the client's problem, research needs, research questions, research methods and explanation of how you would use the data you gather. In other words, you should be able to answer some questions such as what do you need to find out?, how will you do that?, what will you know when you are done?, etc. The plan should also include a timeline for accomplishing these tasks.

Research report: After the agency follows through with its research plan, you will submit a report summarizing what you did and what you found. The report should briefly review the problems, goals and expectations stated in the plan, then discuss the research methods that you used. The bulk of the report will be the results of your data-gathering, discussed in terms of the hypotheses or research questions you began with and briefly interpreted. Then you will revise your situation analysis based on the findings' implications and make preliminary recommendations for the campaign.

Final Report: The proposal is the summary of your semester's worth of work - this is the document you will present to your client. Included will be summaries of components of the previous papers but the main portion will be the proposed PR plan, complete with goals and objectives, strategies, tactics, a timeline and a budget.

Final Presentation (10 Percent)

During the final week of the course, each agency will make a formal presentation of their research findings and campaign plan to their client and the class.

  • Appropriate visual aids such as tables and graphics are required for presenting your final report.
  • The explanation and justification of the research procedure should be comprehensive.
  • The explanation of main findings should be clear and precise.
  • The limitations of the study and the suggestion for further studies should be included in the final report and the presentation.
  • The campaign plan should be based on your findings.

Group Members/self Evaluation

The forms for your peer and self evaluation will be distributed to you at the end of your final presentation and will otherwise be available on the Internet. Be aware that members in your agency may not get the same grade. Rather, your grades on the group projects (including your final report) will be weighed by agency/self evaluations. For example, if your group scores a 92% on the campaign project, but your average score from the self/agency evaluations is 80%, then the grade you receive for the group campaign project would be 74% (80% * 92%). If your average score is a 91%, you would get the group project grade of 92%. The purpose of this complicated procedure is to reduce the likelihood that someone in the group will slack off and still receive the full benefit of the others' work.

** You, based on a group decision, may fire one of the group members who does not carry a fair share of the work. The decision should be made carefully and you should consult with me before the final decision. Final approval of a firing will be up to me. The person, who is subject to it, will not receive any points for group projects. Group projects account for 65% of the final grade, meaning automatic failure.

Class Participation (10 percent)

Attendance and class participation counts for 10% of your grade. Unexcused absences will be considered in class participation scores. Three unexcused absences will be considered 0 out of 10 possible class participation points.

Academic Honesty

Students should maintain academic honesty in fulfilling all course requirements. Plagiarism is not tolerated. If you use information from a publication, you must attribute a source to it.

Class Etiquette

  • Reading a newspaper or other unrelated materials during class is not permitted.
  • Sleeping during class is considered as an unexcused absence.
  • Do not use cell phones or audible pagers.
  • Food, drinks and tobacco products are not allowed in the classroom.

Seeking Help

If you need individual assistance beyond the help you receive in class, you can see me during office hours or set up an appointment for another time. If you have any special concerns for your instructor to know in order to ensure your academic success in class, please inform me as soon as possible, so I can assist you accordingly. Please, see me if you have any problems! I consider my student's failure to learn as my own failure to teach effectively. We are going to work together to provide a high quality academic environment for our learning.

Special Assistance: "Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented disability. Please notify the instructor during the first week of class of any accommodations needed for the course. Late notification may cause the requested accommodations to be unavailable. All accommodations must be approved through the Disability Resource Center (DRC) in Administration Annex 206 (Tel. 335-1566)."