Research Integrity in a Fast-paced World

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Research—the intentional and measured study of multiple resources in order to amalgamate them and arrive at new conclusions—is exceedingly important in a plethora of fields. In the world of Public Relations, research is of paramount importance; the consequences of shallow research are manifold. Firstly, research that is not thorough causes the entirety of the writing process to be more difficult. If a solid foundation is non-existent, whatever is built upon it lacks meaningful substance and value. Secondly, shallow research has a higher potential to be faulty, whereas in-depth research is more likely to consist of corroborative evidence and verified fact. Painful evidences of deficient research are abundant in the media world, and if I am going to add my voice to the millions of others, I want it to be a trustworthy voice of reason and truth.

Words lack value if they are not backed by evidence. Public Relations specialists are brand representatives, and failure to conduct conscientious research could result in negative perceptions of those brands by the populace. Of course, there are certain opinions that are uncontrollable, but it is the job of a Public Relations specialist to defend the image of a brand through messages to consumers.

The fact is this: research takes time. We live in a world where alacrity is valued, especially when it comes to the media. People covet information, and they want it so expeditiously that they rarely pause to check the reliability of their sources. Even so, integrity is of greater importance than celerity in my mind. An experienced researcher should be able to deliver both, but doing so requires time, practice, and determination. There are some who would disagree with this point of view, maintaining that speed is the only way to succeed in our world. In response to this, I posit that integrity endures. Information that is not built on a firm foundation may be released more quickly, but it also runs a higher risk of being exposed as flawed. In that case, whoever released that information has not only humiliated themselves, but has caused injury to their brand or company. Trusted information sources are reliable for a reason: their consistency. Dependability cannot be achieved overnight, because it requires an extensive record of reliable research. People will not necessarily notice the difference between writing that is backed by solid research and writing that lacks groundwork, but in my mind, writing with veracity is of utmost importance.

Written By: Cassie Appleton, Junior Account Executive, Community Arts Council of Kankakee County

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