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Human Resource Development

Research guide for Human Resource Development

What is human resource development?

Human resource development (HRD) is an interdisciplinary field, mostly drawing upon the contributions of business, psychology, sociology, and education. The goal of HRD is to improve efficiency and effectiveness of individuals and groups in the workplace, as well as the organizational aspects of the workplace departmentally and as a whole.

Often, the study and practice of HRD involves employee training and skill enhancement; improvement of learning and performance; (re)organization analyses of groups, departments, companies, and institutions; and advisement of workers in their career choices as well as institutions toward optimal functionality. Towards these ends, there are two common threads found across HRD research:

  • Organization Development (OD)
  • Training & Development (T&D)


Though these approaches are different, they are complementary. You will learn more about these throughout your HRD studies.

There are a number of job titles associated with HRD. A few are listed below. Click on the links to see job analyses provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


HRD can also be useful for work in a variety of related fields including: industrial-organizational psychology; sociology of organizations, occupations, and work; and general administration/management.

Human resource development and human resource management are not equivalent, but do share some of the same fundamental aspects.

Professional Organizations

Here are professional organizations and associations that may be of interest to you. Many of them provide free resources, but membership is often required to use all of their services.

Consider joining professional organizations now or in the future, as membership opens opportunities for conferences, networking, and professional development.

Finding Web Resources with Google

If you're using Google to find websites, try including one of the following domains in your search to ensure the most high-quality results.

  • (websites for government)
  • (websites for U.S. institutions of higher education)



A search for government websites only involving the term "e-learning" looks like this:

A search for institutions of higher education websites only involving the terms "e-learning" and "research" looks like this:

In either case, you simply follow your search terms with the word "site," a colon, a period, and the domain you want.

You can also try and, but sometimes those sites can still be questionable.

Keep in mind that international higher education sites (for example, those from Canada, the U.K., Australia, etc.) do not use the .edu domain. Instead, try looking for the .ac (academic institutions) domain.

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