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"There's always that age-old conflict in academia: you see a lot of papers that are really interesting but they don't help or improve ergonomics directly. I can't help but say ‘Give me something practical!’
So I think certification should definitely be geared more towards practitioners. – I know too many researchers who get their CCPE and have done the bare minimum amount of practical work. I question whether they should be called Ergonomists or not!
Jeff, BSc Kinesiology, CCPE

Human factors centers upon four pillars:
Application, Research, Education & Awareness.
None of these can be abandoned without compromising the whole discipline. However, as the above quotes illustrate, there is widespread consensus that practical, hands-on work is the only way to do ergonomics properly.

And while all professionals, regardless of their job, agree that research is important in guiding their work, many practitioners (and even some educators) criticize researchers that produce research and theory that has no pracical merits. Research done for intellectual sake seems to be undesirable in human factors; yet others might argue that it's part of the process.

The problem becomes clearer when you recognize the anatomy of a certified ergonomist or usability professional. All certificants must demonstrate both practical experience and education in human-centered design.
But universities are intellectual institutes and focus on theory; discouraging courses from becoming too practical. Because of the focus on theory and because the majority of human factors education comes from undergraduate and graduate studies it's easy to see how conflict begins.

In the end, the opposition and dichotomy between academic-oriented and practically-minded professionals boils down to personal choice.

Academics and Practitioners Collaboration & Contrast