“Positivism as Comte defined it, adapts the scientific method and numerical measurements as used in the natural sciences to reach conclusions about human behavior” (Rosenberry & Vicker, 2017).
“Meet the Bloggers: Some Characteristics of Serious Bloggers in the Asia-Pacific Region, and Why PR Professionals Might Care About Them” is one example of research in the positivist tradition. The journal seeks to answer general questions that lie behind the blogging phenomenon from a public relations perspective. It uses measurable research to back its findings.
Authors Peter Steyn, Gene van Heerden, Leyland Pitt, and Christo Boshoff surveyed 153 bloggers across the Asia Pacific region to study “broad issues related to the bloggers and their activities, news, and lifestyles”.
When it comes to research in the positivist tradition, it needs to have a hypothesis, dependent and independent variables, and be measurable. In this research study, the independent variables are the bloggers and the dependent variables are the blogger’s characteristics. To measure the research, the bloggers were asked several of questions including how bloggers like to be contacted by PR professionals, what makes the most interesting news for bloggers, and what is the differences in contact media preferences between bloggers who had been contacted by PR professionals in the past 6 months and those who had not.
The research determined that due to the type of questions that were asked, they were unable to get a “sophisticated statistical analysis”. Although no statistical analysis was found, the research did offer advice to PR professionals.
- Contact bloggers on the correct media channels.
- Bloggers like feedback on their content. Feedback can help strengthen relationships between PR professionals and bloggers.
- Bloggers want to be known. PR professionals should build long-term relationships with them.
- PR professionals should use electronic communication. “Sound trumps text, and video trump sound. Becoming part of the blogging community is essential” (Steyn, Van Heerden, Pitt, & Boshoff, 2007).