My comments to the Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles

I’ve made some comments to the Barcelona Declaration of Research principles – here are my questions and doubts.

  • Principle 2 – Media Measurement Requires Quality and Quantity

All quality categories (such as tone, prominence) should be explained. I want to introduce them in my daily media monitoring and measurement company praxis – and basing on these general descriptions I am not able to do it. It should be rather a detailed list, where every category has sub-list of possible answers. My question: is there any scientific evidence that articles for example with photograph of company’s spokes person have stronger impact on audience, that articles with text only? I mean: do these categories identified by AMEC have any scientific base? If so – which? We should have the ready list of references to be able to prove that we use scientific methodology.

  • Principle 3 – AVEs are not the value of public relations

My general observation is that AVE was replaced with similar index with no scientific base. There are no scientific research comparing PR with advertisement (and I think these cannot be compared in any way, they are two different ways of communication with the market). And we make the same mistake again: we are talking that PR and advertisement are not comparable, but we are still trying to compare them. It should not been done.

Also, if we want to introduce any index, it should be scientifically based. Firstly, categories we want to use should be scientifically based, as I wrote above regarding the Principle 2. Secondly, when it is created, it should be tested by some companies (not only one company) and then finally said to be working (it is just the replicability in scientific research – if we are talking about replicability). It should have the ready pattern, so everyone from our industry should be able to count the index (also the replicability in scientific research).

So my conclusion is: abolish AVEs and all indexes which are not scientifically based. Advise and teach clients about research methodology. Allow for indexes created by specific companies but only when they are researched and it is known they are working (as in research industry – companies are creating their own indexes, but they internally research them before they offer them to clients).

  • Principle 4 – Social Media Can and Should Be Measured

If we say, that “measurement must focus on conversation and communities not coverage”, we should establish rules how to research conversation and communities: by which methods and techniques, maybe with some ready categories (such as Grunig’s theory of relationships used by Katie D. Paine to measure social media) – or just promote the AMEC document on it.

  • Principle 7 – Transparency and Replicability are Paramount to Sound Measurement

I see two different problems here. In case of media analysis we are talking about ready categories of analysis. In case of surveys we are talking about general rules how to make a survey. The text should be changed: ready categories of media measurement should be moved to Principle 2 and explained in details. Instead of the categories, we should state here, how to make the content analysis. There are also some ready rules, I noticed also that Katie D. Paine shared with her practice in content analysis on her blog – so her writings could be also useful.

Two additional principles should be added.  First, obliging us to educate our clients and be their advisor in research – standards which are promoted only internally, are useless. Second, obliging us to work with clients in way taken from the practice of research companies (as far as I know, one of our members, Owl Re uses something like that: http://www.owlre.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/factsheet_owlre_success.pdf)

Photo taken from the sxc.hu website.


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