Monday

Measurement and evaluation of Public Diplomacy

As India's Public Diplomacy Division brings structure and strategy to Indian PD efforts it is also important for the PD division to have systems in place that can evaluate these efforts. This is not easy. The U.S. National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication (2007) is a comprehensive document that sums up the importance of evaluating PD. In acknowledging the difficulties involved in evaluating PD efforts, the document states,
"As Edward R. Murrow once observed, no cash register ever rings when a mind is changed. The impact of information and education programs that touch the emotions, beliefs, intellects and allegiances of diverse audiences around the world is often difficult to gauge, especially when any public diplomacy activities may only produce long-term, rather than immediate, impact."
There are some obvious difficulties associated with measuring PD. Some obvious reasons are:
  1. The gestation period for results of PD efforts tend to be long
  2. Mostly the desired outcomes, measures and concepts tend to be intangible
  3. What derives from the above is the fact that it is difficult to achieve the 'cause-effect' relationship It is difficult to ensure continuous, sophisticated 'tracking' as it is done in communication campaigns. The reason maybe lack of tools, large sizes of samples and databases in terms of numbers as well as spread etc
  4. This in itself makes it a very time, labor and cost intensive process

Nonetheless it is important that evaluation is given a priority to ensure dynamism in PD strategy. According to Prof Eytan Gilboa, Director, Center for International Communication at Bar Ilan University, 10% of PD budget should be dedicated for evaluation and evaluation efforts should be a built in component of any PD strategy.

Suggestions/Critiques welcome.

-- Madhur

   
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