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Designing better on-farm research in Australia using a participatory workshop process

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Lawrence, D., Christodoulou, N. and Whish, J. (2007) Designing better on-farm research in Australia using a participatory workshop process. Field Crops Research, 104 (1-3). pp. 157-164.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2007.03.018

Publisher URL: http://www.elsevier.com


There are renewed calls for end-user participation and the integration of local knowledge in agricultural research. In Australia, the response has included an increased emphasis on participatory on-farm research with farmers and commercial agronomists that tests accepted principals to answer practical local farming questions. However, this pursuit of greater relevance has often led to compromises in research designs, unclear results and frustration amongst farmers, commercial agronomists and Research Development and Extension (RDE) agency researchers. This paper reports on a series of pre-season planning workshops from `Doing successful on-farm research', a workshop-based initiative that provides guidelines and a series of interactive activities to plan better participatory on-farm research. The workshop approach helps people design on-farm research that is appropriate to their own needs and local conditions. It assists them to clearly identify their issues, develop specific research questions and decide the best approach to answer those questions with the appropriate rigour for their own situations. These `Doing successful on-farm research' workshops address four potential deficiencies in on-farm research and farming systems RDE more generally in Australia: (1) variable participation of scientists and farmers in on-farm research; (2) the lack of clear guidelines for effective participatory practice and on-farm research; (3) limited support for on-farm research beyond the intensive investigations conducted by RDE agencies and (4) limited support for industry and farmers to contextualise information and research outcomes for specific individual circumstances and faster adaptation of technology. This may be a valuable contribution to balancing the demands for both relevance and rigour in on-farm research in Australia. In "Ground–breaking Stuff’- Proceedings of the 13th Australian Society of Agronomy Conference, 10-14 September 2006, Perth, Western Australia.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Agri-Science, Crop and Food Science, Plant Science
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:© Elsevier B.V.
Keywords:On-farm research; participation; relevance; rigour.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural education > Research. Experimentation
Live Archive:03 Feb 2009 00:58
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:43

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