Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series
Edited by Mark N.K. Saunders and Paul Tosey
Chapter 1: Introduction: the variety of methods for researching HRD
Any scholar delving into the Human Resource Development (HRD) journals or textbooks for the first time would immediately be made aware of its multifaceted nature and the importance of HRD for both organizations and the people who work for and within them. They would also quickly become knowledgeable of a wide variety of issues associated with the development of people, the need to understand these fully and the importance of good quality research for doing this. However, what would not be so immediately apparent is the variety of research methods used by HRD scholars. Yet, as the chapters in this Handbook reveal, there are a wide range of methods available to, and used by, those researching HRD. 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 HRD within a particular paradigm or for a particular method cannot be addressed fully.