PRCA 4330 Research Project Format

On October 3, 2009, in Nixon's Classes, public relations, by Barbara Nixon

The Trap... by clicksense.Students in my PRCA 4330 class asked for more details on the format for their Public Relations Research Projects that they are completing for Georgia Southern University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching.

Cover Page

  • Client name & logo (if available)
  • Research team name (if you have one) and list of all members
  • Date

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

  • Written for client’s senior management team
  • No more than one page


  • Research problem
  • Importance of the problem to the client
  • Purpose statement (use script from Creswell to write this)

Literature Review

  • Should accomplish two purposes
    • make an argument for the need to conduct this specific study (identify a gap, or a need in previous literature)
    • present the previous theories, concepts, etc. that this study uses and builds upon
  • Usually, each paragraph or small section of the literature review covers a body of literature. The best literature reviews are organized thematically; clearly identify and label these themes.
  • Typically, this section will be several pages long and will reference a dozen or more sources


  • Explain the research methods and procedures used for the research study, and your rationale for choosing said method(s)
  • Include your specific research question(s), not survey or interview questions, but the question(s) that your research attempted to answer


  • Present your data, along with your (statistical or interpretive, etc.) analysis.

Limitations & Suggestions

  • What constraints were on your team?
  • What additional research is recommended based on your results?


  • What do your results mean, in the context of the literature you reviewed?
  • Explain how the problem from the introduction is solved, how the research questions are answered, and whether the purpose of the study was accomplished.


  • Summary of the entire project (in a paragraph or two)



  • Number and content varies by project
  • All projects must include
    • High-level project plan (Gantt chart format works well for this)
    • PowerPoint slides used in presentation to client (printed six to a page)
    • Consent agreement
    • Your team contract
      • Provide a signed copy of your team’s contract (the contract you turned in during the week of October 5)
    • Agreement re: final version
      • Each team member will sign a page agreeing that the version you are submitting for a grade is your final version
  • Typically also includes
    • Complete survey, just as the participants saw it
    • Survey results, raw
    • Questions/scripts for focus groups or interviews
    • Verbatim transcripts of focus groups or interviews


Finally, each team member will individually submit in GeorgiaVIEW:

  • Team Member Evaluation Form (this will count as part of your team members’ grades) Coming Soon; not yet available
    • Will include
      • Client service
      • Meets deadlines, keeps promises
      • Quality writing
      • Creativity
      • Quality of presentation capabilities
      • Research capabilities
      • Participates in all activities
      • Takes initiative
      • Is accessible & responsive
  • Personal Reflection on Research Project (this will count as part of your own grade)
    • Roughly 500 words
    • Answer these questions
      • What did you learn from doing this project? (You can discuss what you learned about research in general, PR research, working with clients, working with teammates, what you learned about yourself through this process, what you might do differently next time . . .)
      • What surprised you?
      • What do you want to know more about?
    • This reflection is between you and me; your team members will not see it

NOTE 1: This information will be discussed in depth in class during the week of October 5. I will update this blog post after our discussion to add any necessary clarifications.

NOTE 2: Use APA Style for formatting your paper for citations, margins, headings, etc. The expectation is that you will use the most current version of APA Style (6th edition) unless you clear it with me beforehand. (Using 5th edition is fine, as long as you tell me ahead of time.)

NOTE 3: You will submit a PDF of your final project in GeorgiaVIEW (one per team), plus a professional-looking hard-copy for both your professor and your client. For your own portfolio, you may also want to print & bind your own hard-copy; it’s usually easiest if all the printed copies are created at once. The Eagle Print Shop on campus will have the best local prices for printing.

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18 Responses to PRCA 4330 Research Project Format

  1. Thanks for letting me know, it’s good to know what’s happening on the other side of the pond! I look forward to working on it upon my return from Ethiopia.

  2. Emily Roche says:

    I read everything! I think it will help!

  3. Jayme Stroud says:

    Thank you so much for your clarification!!

  4. Thanks! This helped us out while creating our team contract!

  5. Micaela Carter says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! I know it will help alot.

  6. Victoria Greene says:

    I’ve read it

  7. Thanks so much for posting this outline! I feel much more comfortable moving forward with the project now!

  8. Evelyn Saunders says:


  9. Amy Gemmel says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to outline what our project should look like/include. It will be a huge help in guiding us during the research timeframe.

    Thanks! -Amy

  10. Dear Dr. Nixon,

    I have read the blog post. I look forward to discussing the final project more thoroughly in class today. Thank you for taking time to prepare us for the discussion.

    -Casey Sherwin

  11. Sheila Cost says:

    This post was a good thing. It helped me out on some questions that i had about the project as a whole…

  12. Allie Schlumper says:

    This blog post is great. I think it will help all of us when doing our project.

  13. Maranda Butler says:

    Thanks for clarifying.

  14. I read the post and it’s a HUGE help. We have a team meeting tonight and I think this will help us get to the place we need to be at this point in the semester. Thanks!

  15. Evan Floyd says:

    awesome. i know a lot of people have wanted some more info on specifics. this is exactly what we were looking for. thank you.

  16. Marie Walker says:

    I read the blog post. It’ll definitely be a big help.

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