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ATD Dissertation Award

The ATD Dissertation Award is given to foster and disseminate research in the practice of developing talent in organizations. It will be presented to the person who has submitted the best doctoral dissertation for which a degree has been granted between August 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017.

The 2016 winner was Maureen Orey, CPLP, from Brandman University for "Is it Worth It? The Career Benefits and Return on Investment of Volunteer Leadership as Perceived by Chapter Leaders in a Professional Talent Development Association."


1.  The dissertation must report a study for which a doctoral degree was granted in the previous year between August 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017.

2.  The study must focus on some issue of relevance to the practice of developing talent in organizations. Illustrative areas of concentration include: 

- training and development

- organizational development/learning

- performance improvement/analysis

- work design

- career development

- human resource planning.

3.  All research methodologies will be considered on an equal basis, including, for example, field-, laboratory-, quantitative-, and qualitative-investigations.

4.  The candidate must be recommended and sponsored by his or her committee chair. A committee chair may nominate more than one candidate who meets the criteria noted above in points 1 and 2.

5.  All materials must be in English, in Word format, and submitted by email. Submissions should adhere to the format prescribed below.


The 2017 application deadline is November 20, 2017.

Submission Requirements

The application must include the following, without exception, be in Word format, and be sent by email:

  1. Letter of application from candidate, a separate cover sheet that contains the candidate's contact details (work and home address, telephone numbers, and email), and a brief abstract of the submission that does not exceed 120 words.

  2. Recommendation from committee chair (sent in separate email from email address of the academic institution) with the dissertation completion date.

  3. Abstraction of the dissertation. The abstraction should not exceed eight single-spaced pages in length (including abstraction, figures, tables, and references; 1-inch margins all around; 10-point font, pages numbered, APA 6th Edition, and no author identification in the documentation properties, document body, header, or footer of manuscript).

    Submissions that exceed the page limitations or do not adhere to the required format will not be considered. The submission requirements correspond to the full manuscript requirements of the Academy of Human Resource Development's (AHRD) Dissertation of the Year procedures that require applicants to follow the full manuscript conference proposal submission guidelines.

  4. The abstraction should include:
    A. Introduction
    1) Summary of the problem
    2) Purpose of the study and rationale (why is it important?)
    3) Critique of relevant literature

    B. Research Design and/or Methodology
    1) Sample selection
    2) Instrumentation and/or interview protocol
    3) Data collection and analysis procedures

    C. Results and Findings
    1) For quantitative studies, provide sufficient statistics, including, power,
    significance, effect size, and strength of relationship.
    2) For qualitative studies, provide a concise analysis resulting from
    sufficient methodological rigor.

    D. Discussion
    1) Strengths of the research
    2) Limitations of the research.

    Strengths and limitations may address the following topics:
    - Why was the overall design chosen as "good" (i.e., methodologically
    rigorous and appropriate) design?
    - What measurement and analysis problems did you encounter, and how
    did you resolve them?
    - Threats to validity.

    E. Implications for Practice and Research
    Particular attention will be given to those studies that thoroughly discuss
    the significance of the findings to the practice of workplace learning and

  5. To ensure a blind review, do not include your name or affiliation on any portion of the actual abstract.

  6. Send the email package to:
    Kristen Fyfe-Mills, ATD Communications Her phone number is 703.683.8192.

Selection Procedure

Reviewers chosen from the research community will evaluate the applications.

The award winner will receive

  • commemorative plaque presented at the awards ceremony during the ATD International Conference & Exposition.
  • US $500 cash prize
  • announcement of the award and a summary of the findings in ATD publications and on the Website.

In addition, the award winner will be encouraged to submit his or her manuscript to Human Resource Development Quarterly for possible publication.

Application Schedule

November 20, 2017
Deadline for receipt of application package

March 15, 2018
Email notification to all entrants

May 2018
Award presented at ATD Awards Ceremony during the ATD International Conference & Exposition.

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