In my last sally I wrote about how you to dig deeper into research. The general idea is to find resources (news, your favorite blog, a book, a TV show) shouting/writing/miming out loud “Research says …” in a way that the topic really appeals to you and you want to find out more. You take it from there and dig deeper into the article of the researchers cited. But what if you don’t find anything interesting and you still want to give it a try with these academics? Let me walk you through a recent “Human Resource Management Review” article which maps the world of HR in a brilliant way. You will make friends with research the other way around – getting the overview first and zooming into a topic you like.
Markoulli, Lee, Byington and Felps want you to see the forest and not only the trees of research in the HR field. Take a look yourself – http://bit.ly/HR-Map – does it work? Using a new way of mapping articles, the team analysed 12.157 articles from 23 years of research. More than that, they recommend future research recommendations based on an analysis of topic content of the HR Magazine. Which means from a practitioner-oriented magazine. You’ve propably heard several times that ‘research is so far away from my daily work’. But most of the time it’s not as easy as that. Many researchers in the field have practical experience from working in HR. Insights from both worlds is a way to broaden your horizon.
The article describes how to explore the map, but as soon as you opened it, it’s quite intuitve. Fot examples, you can explore a heat map showing you how many articles for which topic (training, interviewing) have been analysed. The article also presents academic journals as well as reviews (‘summaries’ of research articles on a specific topic’) from the field. Finally, there is the research-practices discrepancy table. Themes that the HR Magazine writes more frequently about than the research. Let me give you three examples: individuals, money and technology. What would you say? Themes which reoccur in your daily work as well?
It would be one way to take this as evidence how far award research is from practise. Another way would be to think about it as a check-and-balance. Maybe we also overuse certain terms and topics (the buzz-words) and can reflect based on this analyses. Or researchers look at this list and rethink their recent research plan and adjust the them towards on under-explored. Research and practice is more than black and white. And now you can chose you favorite topic cluster and make friends with one of the articles. Let me know which it became.
Full reference of the article
Markoulli, Lee, Byington, & Felps. (2017). Mapping Human Resource Management: Reviewing the field and charting future directions. Human Resource Management Review, 27(3), 367-396.