Measuring Success: A Model for Evaluating 
the Success of Military Media Relations 

statement of problem 
literature review 
rationale & 
research question 


Rationale and research question: 

Lindenmann (1994) asks how it is possible to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses in public relations unless some type of research or measurement is carried out.  Not only is measurement in public relations possible, but it is taking on increasing importance.  Lindenmann (1994) defines measurement as “a way of giving an activity a precise dimension, generally by comparison to some standard or baseline.  This is usually done in a numerical or quantifiable manner.  What we are usually looking for in measurement are some hard numbers that we can rely on and that are projectable” (p. 107). 

Evaluation is described as “a means of determining the relative value or importance of a given program” (Lindenmann, 1994, p. 107).  Generally, this is accomplished through appraisal or comparison with a predetermined set of objectives and goals.  Thus, measurement refers to a quantitative method, where evaluation is more qualitative.  

This research extends Lindenmann's conceptions of both measurement and evaluation to the military PA arena.  Specifically, military PAs must use appropriate measurement and evaluation tools to ensure their successes are accurately measured and expressed. 

Lindenmann (1994) cautions against an evaluation system that depends on hard numbers alone.  “When we strive to evaluate PR efforts, the value may be expressed in hard numbers, but we may settle for softer, less quantitative information” (p. 107).  This study uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to measure PA efforts.  

Although it can be difficult to prove cause-and-effect in PR because there are so many factors and variables involved (Lindenmann, 1994).  This paper presents a tentative model of an effective measure of PA success.  The model (Appendix B) uses agenda setting at the local command level, and extends the use of framing, uses and gratifications, and diffusion of innovations to military PAs.  The model also addresses the following research question:  

RQ1: Can a method be developed to measure the success of military PA media relations programs?