Public Diplomacy Evaluation

Principal Investigator:
Robert Banks

Past Contributing Researcher:
Melanie Ciolek

Publication: A Resource Guide to Public Diplomacy Evaluation

American broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow once said that "no cash register ever rings when a mind is changed." As such, measuring success in public diplomacy has always been a challenge. Because the impact of public diplomacy programs can take decades to manifest, the investment in public diplomacy rarely results in dramatic, demonstrable change in the short term. But in today's "culture of measurement,” we cannot afford to ignore the need to procure results. This is the scope of the problem for measuring the success of public diplomacy research, whether it be in the private or public sector.

This project examined extant research on the topic of PD evaluation. It included resources on evaluation as practiced by the private sector with a focus on public relations operations, and by foreign governments with a focus on the United Kingdom. In addition, this research encompassed some of the major elements of public diplomacy: media outreach, cultural programming, exchanges, social networks, and international broadcasting. Special attention was devoted to how the United States government has historically approached the goal of measuring performance in PD in comparison to its PD evaluation practices today. The result of this research is an annotated bibliography on key resources in the study of PD evaluation. We hope that this effort provides a stimulus for research on how public diplomacy can impact public opinion and bring nations closer to achieving their policy objectives.