Research report for UNC Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative

Clients who hire PR professionals to develop campaigns expect solid research to inform campaign planning. To prepare students for this expectation, students in the PR Campaigns course conduct extensive research prior to developing campaigns. 

A four-student team conducted research in their capstone "MEJO 634: Public Relations Campaigns" course for their client, the UNC Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative, an organization operating through the UNC School of Social Work that connects refugees with mental health service providers. Associate Professor Nori Comello led team members Melody Goforth, Mary Bryan, Felicia Bailey and Ashley Fox.


The client’s communication goal was to raise awareness and encourage support of the organization’s efforts in the wider community. To guide campaign planning, the students began with research: a SWOT analysis and literature review, followed by a survey and in-depth interviews.

“Through this experience, the students enhanced their skills in determining research needs and conducting multi-method research,” said Comello. “These are essential skills when working with clients to develop campaigns.”

The client applauded the team’s research: “I was very impressed by the level of thoroughness and professionalism,” wrote client representative Alice Keyes. “Impressive understanding/grasp of current environment which UNC Refugee Wellness is operating as portrayed by SWOT. This report was truly outstanding.”

The North Carolina Public Relations Society of America also found the research report to be exceptional. The team earned an InSpire Award of Excellence and Best of the Research/Evaluation Category. The student team’s research report rose to the top amid entries by public relations professionals in this region, according to Kim Strazisar, a member of the InSpire Awards committee.

The InSpire Awards honor the region’s most-successful and innovative communications programs of the past year. The contest is open to communications professionals from agencies, corporations, nonprofits, associations and government offices. Entries undergo independent review from industry experts. PRSA members from Memphis, Tennessee, judged the NCPRSA entries for the 2018 program.