Centre for Economic Transformation

Practitioner research for the professionalization of human resources practice

empirical data from the Netherlands


Despite the growing interest in and literature regarding practitioner research in human resources (HR), not much is known about the factors that play a role in the actual practice by HR practitioners. This article describes an explorative study to gain empirical insight into the use and quality of practitioner research in HR practice.

We conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 Dutch HR practitioners from diverse backgrounds, posing questions about (1) their definitions of practitioner research, (2) the characteristics of the research they perform, (3) the quality and usability of the research projects in which they have taken part, and (4) the forces that drive or hinder practitioner research. We constructed theory-based coding schemes to analyse the data.

To assess the quality and usability of the research performed by participants, we constructed a quality framework. Our findings show that all participants were more or less involved in HR-related practitioner research, but the quality and usability of that research could be improved. We report several causes and influencing factors. Our findings complement previous research on evidence-based HR and other practitioner research approaches and provide new insights. Based on our findings, we discuss implications for further research and practice

Reference Lopes De Leao Laguna, L., Poell, R., & Meerman, M. (2018). Practitioner research for the professionalization of human resources practice: empirical data from the Netherlands. Human Resource Development International, 22(1), 68-90. https://doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2018.1483150

Publication date

Jun 2018


Rob Poell
Martha Meerman

Research database