Hancock, P.A. (2000). Is truth soluble in politics. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Bulletin, (Presidential Column). 43(4), 1-4.
(Reprinted in the Ergonomist, 364). (Presidential Column).
One of the leading thinkers of the nineteenth century opined that the true job of the philosopher was not to study the world but to change it. He could well have been speaking directly for those of us in human factors and ergonomics. From my perspective as a professor, it is often all to easy to see our enterprise as on that terminates with a book, a chapter, or the traditional refereed paper. Nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps one reason human factors and and ergonomics rarely fares well in the Academy is that at heart it is NOT fundamentally an “academic” pursuit. Indeed, I believe our real job as human factors researchers it to provide information, tools, methods, and support to those who actually effect change. Their names may not be well known, and they may have never published a scholarly paper, but it is our professionals on the front line who actually DO the job of human factors and ergonomics. Sometimes in a large way, sometimes in a small way, but always in a very real way, they are agents of change, and as such their actions are social and political by their very nature.
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