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Yes, testing validity is a vital skill for analysts and researchers. The standard scientific method is based on such approaches, but, strangely enough, it was a course on critical writing that most clarified the logic behind the process for me. Math and statistics courses also pounded those points. Next most significant influence might have been Suzette Haden Elgin's books on The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense which teach how to identify presuppositions and challenge embedded assumptions and such implications.

A VERY interesting and provocative thought. A way to go about this might be to form a discussion group (think "book club") to take up the current output of the better academic journals and summarize / publish the result of that discussion.

We definitely should pursue this.

Ann - As usual, you've identified a critical gap in the professional development of HR practitioners in all disciplines. I believe it's at the root cause of the continuing HR anxiety surrounding importance and credibility.

The problem is twofold: focus on 'best practice', which frankly is of little use in identifying cutting/bleeding edge research, since the term really means the median approach of all survey participants; and a facilitated forum which addresses new ideas and their potential application to HR strategy.

A logical platform for such activity would be the national membership organizations such as SHRM or ASTD. At least in SHRM's case that is unlikely to ever happen, so long as they continue to focus upon 'what is', rather than 'what could be'.

Finally, I worry a little bit about the appetite for such activity among current HR practitioners, particularly at the upper end of the food chain. I have absolutely no hard data to support this concern, but as an anecdotal matter the stuff I see on all the HR/HR related blogs indicates to me that rearranging the deck chairs to find answers to recurring issues is the preferred course towards resolution.


Solid point - You note that there are places and disciplines where we can hone some parts of this know-how (if we're paying attention), yet no "pull it all together" preparatory course that truly shows us how this is applied to our work and allows us practice in doing just that.


Very interesting thought!


I have the same worry you do, that there may be little appetite or interest in this for most - having no hard data either. Not only does that leave us in the position of rearranging deck chairs, it makes us too susceptible to the "miracle cures" that come wrapped up in snappy sound bites.

Thanks, all, for the comments. Wasn't sure I'd get any kind of reaction to this as it is a little "out there". Appreciate hearing from like minds.

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