Introduction: The variety of methods for researching HRD

Mark Saunders, Paul Tosey

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    The last two decades have seen a plethora of research methods textbooks published. Some of these texts have taken broad disciplinary foci such as business and management (for example: Cameron and Price, 2009; Saunders et al., 2012) considering both quantitative and qualitative paradigms. Others have chosen to focus upon a particular grouping of methods within organizational research such as quantitative or qualitative methods (for example: Symon and Cassell, 2012); or to concentrate on one specific method such as interviews (for example: Cassell, 2015) or questionnaires (for example: Ekinci, 2015). Whilst such books are both informative and insightful, their nature invariably means that the particular methodological challenges presented by human resource development within a particular paradigm or for a particular method cannot be addressed fully.

    As HRD research has developed, a growing variety of data collection methodologies and analysis techniques have been adopted, with research designs incorporating mono, multiple and mixed methods approaches. The knowledge and insights gained from the use of particular data collection and analysis techniques has been dissipated across a wide range of journals. These have included specialist HRD journals such as Human Resource Development International and the European Journal of Training and Development; human resource management journals such as Human Resource Management and Personnel Review; as well as more generalist business and management and organizational psychology journals. Whilst these journals and the associated articles highlight the methodological openness of the HRD field, they are rarely able to offer a comprehensive picture of the use of particular methods within HRD research. Rather their reading reveals the necessity for an up-to-date overview of the methods that are being used and to HRD support researchers in their use.

    The aim of this book, therefore, is to draw the wealth of research methods experience gained by researchers working within the HRD into one volume. Reflecting the methodological plurality revealed in the journals, the editors and contributors to this volume have explored and researched HRD from a variety of directions. The book therefore reflects and utilizes the research experiences of leading HRD scholars to provide a range of insights on methods for those researching HRD.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHandbook of Research Methods on Human Resource Developmwent
    EditorsMark Saunders, Paul Tosey
    Place of PublicationCheltenham
    PublisherEdward Elgar, Cheltenham
    ISBN (Print)9781781009239
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2015


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