A Guide to Research for Educators and Trainers of Adults first published in 1984 followed by a second edition in 1995, has provided guidance to those who are interested in systematically studying aspects of our practice of adult education and human resource development. From the first
edition to this new third edition, the intent has been to demystify the process of research and enable practitioners and new researchers to inquire into our practice with the anticipation of not only learning more about our practice, also of improving practice. This third edition introduces some changes, most of which reflect progress in the approaches to research in adult education in the last 17 years. For example, we have chosen to use three research paradigms—positivist, interpretive, and
critical—to frame the research methodologies. The positivist paradigm is one in which researchers search for cause-and-effect relationships and make the assumption that there is an objective reality that exists independent of the observer. The interpretive paradigm is one in which researchers try to understand the meaning and interpretation of experiences from the participants' perspectives. In the interpretive paradigm it is assumed that knowledge is socially constructed. The critical
paradigm focuses on what "should be" rather than "what is," so researchers seek to make changes that improve people's lives, address social justice issues and strive for freedom from oppression.