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Human Resource Development Research Handbook

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Human Resource Development Research Handbook

Linking Research and Practice


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Scholarly human resource development research can be seriously practical. Here’s how to do it right, or to be sure the researchers you’ve hired are giving you top thinking for your bottom line.

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If you work in human resources, the manual put together by editors Richard A. Swanson and Elwood F. Holton III will probably find its way onto a shelf close by your desk, where it can be easily reached as a reference tool. The chapters of this book, which were written by different authors but have been organized into a logical whole, help span the gap between theory and practice in the human resources field. You’ll likely find yourself reaching for this dense, informative book every time your start planning a survey, training program or research project. If you’re not in HR, this book is more likely to find its way into cardboard box on a dusty shelf at the back of a dark closet. The content, although quite innovative and detailed, is simply too specialized for a general readership. Therefore, getAbstract recommends this book to human resource professionals at all level, and strongly encourages students of the discipline to study these pages before setting out in the real world of business.


Part One: The Practical Importance of Research

Expertise is required to consistently get the kind of results that organizations need from Human Resource Development (HRD). However, expert HRD practitioners think like researchers, so there is a smaller gap between practice and research than you may expect.

Research is a process that goes through an orderly investigation to obtain new knowledge. It is not just a problem-solving method. Theory is vital. Business practices that are created without a theory are common, but they lead to poor results. Research contributes to the growth of theory and leads to better decisions.

Four domains - theory, research, development and practice - form a vital cycle for refining ideas. (Development, in this context, means the systematic process of shaping a new product or activity.) The cycle often starts with theory, but can begin in any of these four domains and each can lead to any of the other three.

To contribute to new theory, development and practice, researchers must report their results. Two U.S. organizations exist to help them: the Academy of Human Resource Development in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Research...

About the Authors

Professor Richard A. Swanson is the director of the University of Minnesota’s Human Resource Development Research Center. He has written or edited six other books, including Analysis for Improving Performance. Consultant Elwood F. Holton III is an associate professor at Louisiana State University. His six other books include In Action: Leading Organizational Change.

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