Public relations and effective communication by selected research institutions in Uganda

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Kampala International University, College of Humanities and social sciences.
This study aimed to find out how research institutions in Uganda make use of Public Relations tools to communicate with their publics and whether those tools have made communication more effective. Using a mixed method approach, qualitative data was collected first through interview guides with a select group of researchers (scientists) and public relations practitioners at Makerere University School of Public Health, Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute and Uganda Virus Research Institute. The purpose of collecting qualitative data first was to get expert views, perspective and ideas on Public Relations and nature of public relations being practiced therein. The information obtained here aided the designing of the questionnaire. Using Slovene’s formula, a sample size of 400 respondents from the districts of Kampala and Wakiso was obtained for the study. Data was computed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 2015 version to get frequencies and descriptive data. The results indicated that majority of the respondents believed genuine engagement with researchers was crucial to ease understanding of scientific findings. Most of the respondents relied on mass media as a primary source of information with the internet following closely especially among the youth. Most respondents preferred interacting with the researchers through community meetings to mass media talk shows. Majority of the participants indicated to have participated in a research project in the last one year. Most respondents believed literature provided by the research is not easy to understand. It was therefore concluded that the three research institutions hardly dialogue with their target audiences, thus hindering Public relations effectiveness because the message is not received as intended. It is the recommendation of the researcher that the three research institutions should consider adopting the usage of the internet especially social media in combination with radio when communicating with the general public.
A thesis submitted to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the Award of Masters of Science Degree in Mass Communication of Kampala International University
Public Relations, Effective Communication, Research Institutions