This chapter discusses practice. Previous chapters have distinguished between research and practice, and much of the book is about research. It is time to say something about practice because, as is seen, demographic data suggest that many professionals have been at one time or another both researchers and practitioners.
Practice takes place in a number of different venues. Practice is commonly associated with the performance of HFE specialists in an engineering facility devoted to development of new systems--military and civilian. Another venue is the contractor consultant facility; still another is the government research and development (R&D) laboratory. A fourth venue is the university. This chapter also questions whether there is a core set of knowledges that every specialist should possess; this is because the discipline is subdivided into so many specialties that one may lose track of its common knowledge base.
This chapter attempts to apply a dose of reality to the ordinarily somewhat artificial description of HFE. Any abstraction is, in terms of its details, bound to be false. In most HFE textbooks, which are oriented around research results, it is easy to forget that there is much more to HFE than research. The true HFE picture does not accord completely with the facade presented in textbooks and research papers.
To illustrate what we are talking about, we use a number of case histories derived from applications to the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE). As a founding member of the board, for several years the author had the opportunity of reviewing 101 applications. These case histories illustrate the more general material. There is no pretense that they