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Survey of Research is a required course for all public relations students at Auburn University. The purpose of this course is to identify, characterize and evaluate stakeholder groups and alternative channels of communication; to conduct formal research procedures including sampling, instrument design, information gathering, data processing, analysis, and reporting.

Our class had the opportunity to work with local clients in the Auburn area and conduct research to help them improve their business. This required us to meet with the clients allowing them to directly communicate their goals for us throughout the project. They were able to give us insight into the areas in which they needed improvement. After the initial meeting, we then used the skills we learned in class and applied it to the client’s situation.

We were divided into groups of four people and assigned a client. My group’s client was the Opelika High School Theatre Department (OHSTD). Our purpose was to understand the reasoning for the attendance decline for their live productions. We conducted research through an online survey with questions specifically aimed towards discovering what the OHSTD could do to increase awareness, interest, and attendance of shows. The data was collected through an online survey called Qualtrics during a five-day span and collected a total of 160 responses. The population was randomly selected as we sent out the survey via social media. The survey was administered through each group member’s individual Facebook pages as well as the OHSTD staff’s Facebook pages. We were about to find that 65 percent of people preferred social media as their primary source of information. At the time, the Opelika High School Theatre Department was only on Facebook and Instagram. While these are effective social media platforms, we proposed expanding their social media presence by engaging in platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and using HootSuite to plan posts. We concluded that increasing followers and improving social media presence could increase attendance since the research showed that most people gather their information from social media. Another major finding was the majority of the respondents preferred classic works to modern works. We suggested they focus on producing more works that would be considered classic productions.

To learn more about my research project and the final recommendations for our client, view the online publication or the PDF version.

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