Revisiting the disciplinary home of evaluation: New perspectives to inform PR evaluation standards

Institute for Public Relations
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Research Journal of the Institute for Public Relations, 2017, 3 (2), pp. 1 - 21
Issue Date:
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From historical analysis of the early development of public relations evaluation (early 1980s to the early 2000s), this paper shows that public relations scholarship and practice have drawn heavily on media and communication studies in developing models and methods of evaluation, but have not significantly engaged with the large related body of knowledge on program evaluation. While communication and media studies are logical and formative disciplinary homes for public relations (PR), this paper argues that PR is a transdisciplinary field and that program evaluation is a mostly overlooked source of influence and heritage in relation to evaluation. This analysis presents evidence that a disciplinary ‘home visit’ to program evaluation, which nestles within program theory and theory of change, offers much to overcome the long-standing stasis in PR evaluation and to inform the search for standards.
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