Combining scientific and lay knowledges: participatory approaches to research in organic.

Lyon, Fergus ORCID logoORCID: and Harris, Frances (2008) Combining scientific and lay knowledges: participatory approaches to research in organic. In: Sustainable farmland management: new transdisciplinary approaches. Fish, Robert, Seymour, Susanne, Watkins, Charles and Seven, Michael, eds. CAB International, Wallingford, pp. 94-106. ISBN 9781845933517. [Book Section]


While agricultural research has led to dramatic technological change in the past 50 years, emphasis has been on maximising production for high input agriculture in high potential areas. There has been less research on complex and diverse farming systems, characteristics typical of many farming systems, in particular organic farms. Much of the existing research has prioritised the roles of scientists and on station trials while users of the research, particularly farmers, are perceived as passive recipients of technology, what Biggs (1990) refers to as the central source model. However, empirical studies show that there are ‘multiple sources of innovation’ including agri-businesses, universities, farming organisations and farmers themselves. Farms are also small businesses. Research on the innovation processes of firms also shows that small businesses have the propensity to research and learn, suggesting that formal scientific research would benefit from closer integration with the users of technology, not just in setting the research agenda but also in carrying out the research.

This paper explores the issues of different types of knowledge and how they can be used to complement each other. Two specific issues are addressed in this paper in the context of plant breeding research :
• What types of research and informal learning are carried out by farmers?
• How can farmers’ own research add to and complement more traditional scientific methods of research?

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 4816
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Depositing User: Mrs Susan Engelbert
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2010 09:49
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:18

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