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Self-Directed Search

 According to the publisher, Psychological Assessment Resources, the Self-Directed Search (SDS) developed by Dr. John L. Holland is the mostly widely used career interest inventory in the world. It has been translated into over 25 different languages. The SDS is based on Dr. Holland’s RIASEC theory that both people and work and study environments can be classified according to six basic types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (RIASEC). The SDS enables users to choose occupations and fields of study that best match their self-reported skills and interests. It is based on the idea that people whose job and work environments most closely match their personal style and interests tend to consider themselves satisfied and successful with the occupational choices they have made.The SDS Form R (SDS:R) is the most common version of the instrument. In its assessment booklet, users answer questions about their occupational aspirations in a Daydreams section, which can be scored separately to yield a vocational aspirations code, or expressed interest code. Sections with lists of activities, competencies, and occupations follow the Daydreams section.The final section includes ratings for ability selfestimates across the six RIASEC areas. These latter five sections of the SDS:R can be self-scored to produce a three-letter summary code that designates the three personality types an individual most closely resembles. This is called the assessed code. The SDS is both a stand-alone career planning  simulation that imitates an interest inventory as well as a psychological test. The original paper-and-pencil SDS:R has been revised four times, most recently in 1994, and includes the Assessment booklet, the Occupations Finder (1,335 occupations employing 99 percent of U.S. workers and updated with additional information on technology occupations in 1999), and the You and Your Career booklet, which discusses the scientific ideas supporting the SDS, how to interpret the scores and codes, the personality characteristics associated with codes, and some suggestions for successful career planning. Normative data for the 1994 edition of SDS:R were derived from a nationally representative sample of 2,602 students (high school and college) and working adults in the United States.While most counselors have basic information about the SDS:R paper version, the other varied SDS formats and versions are less widely known. A computer-based version of SDS:R provides for faster administration and more efficient use of the inventory.

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