Emerging international standards for measurement and evaluation of public relations: A critical analysis

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Journal Article
Public Relations Inquiry, 2014, 3 (1), pp. 7 - 29
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© The Author(s) 2014. After 30 years of modest progress in measurement and evaluation of public relations since Jim Grunig uttered his cri de coeur about lack of evaluation, a flurry of activity has occurred in the past few years. A new momentum started with the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles in 2010. In 2011, a Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards was formed by three leading international PR and research organizations. In 2012, the group expanded to 11 professional associations which worked in collaboration with advertising and media organizations and companies representing employer perspectives to publish a number of definitions and standards for measurement and evaluation in 2012 and 2013. Concurrently, there have been renewed debates about measurement concepts such as Return on Investment (ROI). As the industry reaches the 20th anniversary of the International Public Relations Association ‘Gold Paper on Evaluation’ published in 1994, it appears that progress is at last being made. This paper welcomes and commends initiatives taken, but presents a critical analysis that reveals continuing gaps and problematic issues to address in the latest efforts to measure the value of PR and a substantial gap between theory and practice.
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