2023 Call for Grant Proposals

The Arthur W. Page Center's 2023 Page/Johnson Legacy Scholar Grant competition for the study of integrity in public communication will accept proposals on two topics:

1. Digital analytics
2. Prosocial communication

Deadlines & Notifications

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Call for Proposals: Effective and Responsible use of Digital Analytics

Senior research fellow and associate professor at Penn State Frank Dardis is leading the call. If you have questions, please contact Dardis at fed3@psu.edu.

Page Principle #4: Manage for tomorrow
Anticipate public reaction and eliminate practices that create difficulties. Generate goodwill.

Since the advent of online communication and its subsequent growth into constantly increasing digital, mobile and social-media platforms, the amount of data and information that can be harnessed by companies, brands, and organizations also has continued to grow apace. As industry and society now deal with current shifts by major tech companies and regulatory agencies regarding data-collection, disclosure, and transparency practices, it is crucial to understand the dynamics associated with digital analytics across contemporary strategic-communication, advertising, public relations, and marketing efforts.

The Page Center seeks grant proposals that will examine how companies, brands, organizations, or other entities currently are employing digital analytics to effectively maximize and optimize their communications efforts, while also doing so in an ethical and responsible manner. The goal of this project is to contribute to scholarly, industry, and public understanding about current practices and trends regarding the responsible implementation of data analytics.

Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

► Best practices of companies or organizations regarding ethical digital-analytics strategies and approaches

► Implications for digital strategic communications, advertising, and marketing

► Messaging and communication strategies for enhancing relationships with consumers and other stakeholders

► Issues affecting privacy, transparency, regulation, and public perceptions of digital analytics

► Political, ethical, and moral perspectives and implications

► Theoretical or methodological innovations

Other compelling ideas or areas regarding digital analytics also will be accepted. Proposals focusing on strategic-communication perspectives, industry best practices, and user/consumer effects will be prioritized. Studies focused particularly on theory development and current industry practices or trends are especially encouraged.

Call for Proposals: Prosocial Communication

Senior research fellow and professor at the University of South Carolina Brooke W. McKeever is leading the call. If you have questions, please contact McKeever at brookew@sc.edu.

Nonprofit organizations, government organizations working to improve public health or social conditions, Certified B Corporations or other corporations engaging in advocacy and activism –these entities often have goals that involve some form of prosocial communication. Similarly, the emerging field of Public Interest Communications (PIC) uses communication grounded in research and strategy to achieve sustained positive social change.

While the goal of prosocial communication is usually rooted in good, the strategies and tactics used to achieve the desired goals can be questionable. For instance, efforts to raise awareness may involve images, words, or tactics meant to shock or capture the attention of media, the public, or people in power. Some forms of communication are designed to generate sympathy, fear, or other emotions with the goal of getting people to act in some way.

Many scholars have written about communication ethics, including Baker and Martinson (2001) who developed the TARES test for persuasive communication, and Freeman (2009) who discussed the need for flexibility in such guidelines when it comes to social movement organizations. As advocacy and activism efforts continue related to various causes, more research is needed to understand the possible issues involved in prosocial communication.

In line with its mission to promote integrity in public communication, The Page Center seeks grant proposals to contribute to research in these areas, to advance scholarly, professional, and public understanding of the ethical issues involved in prosocial communication.

Proposals may be related but are not limited to the following questions and topics:

► Who benefits from prosocial communication?

► What are best practices for ethical prosocial communication?

► Are different types of organizations held to different standards when it comes to prosocial  communication?

► Ethical guidelines for nonprofit public relations, public interest communication, health communication, or other forms of prosocial communication

► Visual forms of prosocial communication

► Partnerships formed to aid in such efforts

► How to engage with different audiences in communicating about various issues and causes (e.g., the populations affected, donors, volunteers, board members, policymakers, activists for or against the issue, employees, leaders, influencers)

► How to manage dis- or misinformation related to prosocial communication

► Theoretical or methodological innovations related to these issues

Studies focused on theory development, organizational best practices, ethical guidelines and/or implications, and other relevant, timely related issues are encouraged.

Successful grants from the prosocial communwill be included in the Page Center Research Roundtable events. Scholars will be expected to attend two sessions to present their research ideas and findings.

All funded projects from the prosocial communication call will submit a journal article using data with practical significance to be considered for a special issue in the Public Relations Journal. Authors are welcome to submit additional articles from their research to other outlets, but one submission to the PRJ is required as part of this prosocial grant award. More information will be provided in the acceptance letter.

Deadlines & Notifications

► Application materials must be electronically submitted on or before Jan. 15, 2023.

► Scholars will be notified of the selection committee's decisions on March 24, 2023.

► Contracts for successful grants will be finalized by June 1, 2023.

► First Research Roundtable presentation in summer of 2023.

► Second Research Roundtable presentation in summer of 2024.

► Final reports are due December 1, 2024.