The Status of Digital Culture in Public Relations Research in Turkey: An Analysis of Published Articles in 1999-2017

The Status of Digital Culture in Public Relations Research in Turkey: An Analysis of Published Articles in 1999-2017

Tugce Ertem-Eray
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6998-5.ch014
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As the number of internet users has increased, communication scholars have started to pay attention to the internet applications, and the research related to digital content has increased in the field of public relations. However, there is no systematic literature review about public relations research related to digital content in Turkey. Therefore, this chapter analyzes this topic through content analysis of published articles between 1999 and 2017. Findings suggest that even if the number of articles has increased in the field of public relations in Turkey, future research needs to go further and examine different research topics, apply different theoretical frameworks, provide balance in methodological approaches, and use various sample types.
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The number of Internet users has been increasing over the years around the world. For example, the Global Internet Report (2016) shows that individual usage of the Internet grew steadily between 2005 and 2015. As of March 31, 2017, over 3 billion people in the world were using the Internet (Internet World Stats, 2017). The situation in Turkey reflects the same growth. A report from 2017 indicates that the number of Internet users in Turkey has increased %4 since January 2016. The total number of active internet users is 48 million, and 60% of the total population in Turkey uses the Internet (We Are Social, 2017).

Although the Internet was developed for military purposes (Johnny, 2010), statistics show that internet use grew rapidly, and it has had significant effects on various aspects of people’s lives and societies. For instance, shopping (Rigby, 2011), education (The Economist, 2014), and games (Stuart, 2016) have all become digital. Also, communication practices such as public relations and advertising have evolved with technological advancements. For example, Grunig (2009) states that digital media makes public relations more global, strategic, two-way and interactive, symmetrical or dialogical, and socially responsible.

The growth of Internet usage has drawn the attention of communication scholars and influenced articles in the communication field. Research (Cho & Kang, 2006; Khang, Ki, & Ye, 2012; Kim & Weaver, 2002; Pasadeos, Berger, & Renfro, 2010) indicates that the number of studies that focus on new communication technologies has increased rapidly. However, it is unclear how research studies in the field of public relations examine digital culture in Turkey. An analysis of the articles will provide a general picture of the development of research related to digital content and insight about digital culture in the field of public relations there. Therefore, this study aims to reveal topics, methodological trends, and theoretical frameworks featured in research articles which focus on digital culture that have been published in peer-reviewed journals in the public relations field. For these purposes, this study analyzes articles published between 1999 and 2017 in order to determine trends in public relations studies focusing on research related to digital content.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Public Relations: Digital public relations refers to all types of public relations activities that are practiced to communicate with the publics via Internet applications (websites, social media networks, blogs, etc.).

Content Analysis: Content analysis is one of the quantitative research techniques that quantifies qualitative content in social sciences.

Articles: Articles refer to the studies that were published in the peer-reviewed journals about public relations research related to digital content.

Trend Studies: This type of study reveals the current situation of a specific research subject in a specific field by focusing on research topics, methodological approach, theoretical framework, etc. about that research subject.

Peer-Reviewed Journals: A peer-reviewed journal is a journal where submitted articles are evaluated by two or more reviewers who are experts in that field.

Digital Culture: Digital culture refers to not only values, agreements, thoughts in today’s society but also how people communicate within that society.

Public Relations Field: Public relations field is an academic field that focuses on public relations issues.

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