COMMUNICATION scholars continue to identify the need for moreresearch into evaluation of public relations activities and practices(e.g., Hiebert & Devine, 1985; McElreath, 1989; Pavlik, 1987; Synnott & McKie, 1997). Synott and McKie reported a 1994 study in which 88% of public relations practitioners and academics called for more emphasis
on evaluation. Evaluation ranked first in number of mentions. Professional associations in a number of countries-including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and Germany-also have called for more research in this area. Examples include the U.S.-based Institnte for Public Relations Research and Education and the International Public Relations Association, which recently published a Gold Paper on this topic (Pritchitt et aI., 1994). The Gold Paper reports the results of a 1989 survey by Lindenmann that indicates that practitioners talk about evaluation more than they do it. The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) acknowledged the importance of evaluation research when it awarded funding in 1985 to the largest public relations research project undertaken to date-the Excellence Project. The IABC Research Foundation sponsored the 10-year, $400,000 project in an effort to answer questions about the effectiveness of public relations practices and to determine how best to measure these activities (Dozier, Grunig, & Grunig, 1995). The initial project, which examined evaluation practices in 300 organizations, identified a scarcity of research in the evaluation domain.