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10 Public Relations Dissertation Topics

[fa icon="calendar"] 16-Feb-2015 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva


One of the secrets of writing an excellent PR dissertation is choosing the right topic. And by right topic I mean the subject of your research that is not only time and industry relevant and so value-adding, but also one that you’re passionate about.

Over the last few years, quite a few students have contacted me, asking to give them some advice and guidance around ideas for public relations dissertation topics. And so to help you even more, I decided that in my role as your PR dissertation mentor, I should share some hot topics and potential PR dissertation research subjects to offer you some inspiration when you are planning your dissertation and pondering what the write about.

These are simply rough ideas that can serve you as guidance for your PR dissertation, but if you do decide to write about one of those topics, it’s important that you carefully research the opportunities behind it and ensure that you would actually enjoy writing about it. Because if you are not passionate or at least interested in this topic, you would be much less motivated to do the work. After all, a PR dissertation is a lot of work and time, so you better choose a topic that you are going to enjoy spending the next few months on.  

I constantly follow the news and read PR and digital blogs to make sure I stay up-to-date, so the below ideas are very much based on what I see happening in the industry and on the latest trends and issues affecting public relations in 2015.

You’ll see that the very first one is about social media and PR – the topic I wrote my dissertation on three years ago, but I believe it is still very much relevant. Social media has evolved rather scarily over just these three last years and there’s a need for constant research in this area, as PR professionals are still struggling with its adoption.

10 Public Relations Dissertation Topics:

  1. Social media’s impact on PR and how professionals are adopting and using social
  2. PR and inbound marketing: How can PR be inbound?
  3. The constant debate around PR’s definition: What is public relations?
  4. PR and the importance of internal communications and EGC (employee generated content)
  5. How the PR agency model is evolving and what the future for the business will look like
  6. How mobile is disrupting public relations
  7. PESO: integrated media for PR and the roles of paid, earned, owned and shared in the 21st century
  8. Public relations measurement and monitoring: How to prove PR ROI?
  9. The evolution of the PR professional: The shifting skillset required of today’s PR pros
  10. What is effective crisis and reputation management in the world of social and mobile?

I hope these ideas offer you some inspiration and guidance. What helped me back then when I was brainstorming what PR dissertation topic to choose, was creating a mindmap to visualise my central idea and the surrounding blocks and potential findings around it. Writing things down and putting them on actual paper (not Word) can be eye-opening. Maybe this would help you too, so why not give it a go?

Good luck and please do get in touch if you need any help.


Need a plan for your PR dissertation? Here’s a 10-step checklist to help you get started with your dissertation: 

CTA PR Dissertation Plan Checklist


Topics: Public Relations

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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