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Effective communication begins and ends with research.

Effective communication programs depend upon research for planning, monitoring and evaluating communication programs. These are examples of research services I provide to my clients.

The Relationship Check-Up

The Relationship Check-Up© is a proprietary method I developed for assessing the state of an organization's relationships with key internal and external constituent groups, whose expectations must be met to win their support for the goals and objectives of the organization.

Examples: I have conducted six Community Relationship Check-Ups for four teaching hospitals and two for a Pharma company. The process involves in-depth interviews with community leaders, senior staff, and board members; a series of employee focus groups; and audits of the institution's publications, advertising, collateral materials, publicity, public affairs and social media activities. I've also conducted "mini" Check-Ups with specialized audiences such as physicians and equity analysts for several clients.

Primary Research Studies

Primary research employs research methods that obtain information first-hand from targeted . This may include random-sampling studies online or by telephone, "convenience samples" using these tools, one-on-one interviews, intercept interviews, focus groups and other techniques.

I have conducted countless primary studies in my 40+ year career including customer and employee surveys in normal and crisis situations, using all of the primary research techniques. For example, I designed a survey for a national pharmacy company that is administered monthly to 10,000 customers to determine their satisfaction with the and their likelihood to recommend it to others.

A large healthcare system engaged me to conduct a poll that would measure the success of certain marketing programs and to learn more about factors leading to the selection of hospitals. The study was based on 2,847, 14-minute in-depth telephone interviews with adult residents, 35 years of age or older, living in five specific georaphic areas. The sample screened-out journalists, hospital employees or volunteers, physicians and hospital directors and trustees.

I conducted an "overnight" survey of 800 18+adults and 150 community leaders in a targeted state to guide the communication planning process for an acquisition bid made by a company after another takeover offer was already in play.

Secondary Research Studies

Secondary research involves examining literature or other information sources such as news media reports, bloggers, competitors, social media and other sources to answer specific questions, often resulting in white papers or other guidance materials for clients.  

I have prepared more than 200 white papers for purposes such as competitive analysis, market feasibility, assessing best practices and executive guidance for decision-making. For example, As part of its ongoing public accountability program, the hospital Association of Pennsylvania commissioned a study, Building Relationships with Community Opinion Leaders: Why, Who and How. The report drew on an annotated bibliography produced by a noted public relations academic and researcher, a self-administered survey of "benchmark partners" who were identified by prominent authors and other experts as representative of current "best practices," and in-depth interviews with CEOs and other senior officers of 13 member hospitals. The study was distributed to all of the member hospitals.

A healthcare system commissioned a study, Best Practices: Organizing a Public Affairs Function as part of an effort to reorganize its in-house functions to place greater emphasis upon building relationships with legislators and regulators at the state and federal levels. The study report was based on in-depth interviews with the senior government relations officers of eight major health systems.

For a major urban university's school of business, I conducted an interview study among major employers in the school's region to determine employers' needs, expectations and reactions regarding a proposed change of the school's MBA program from "generic" to industry-specific.

A major financial institution engaged me to consult with the executive steering committee that was responsible for conducting a re-engineering of a major subsidiary company. One product of this assignment was white paper about Best Practices in Employee Communication, which focused on preparing the steering committee for the challenges they would face in terms of employee morale and productivity when the re-engineering was completed.

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