Blog 3: Why Do We Conduct Agricultural Communications Research?

Happy Labor Day. You certainly are not expected to read or comment on this on the holiday. However, I thought I would go ahead and post in case some of you wanted to use your day off to post.

You may have noticed that I did not respond to your posts in week 2. I may pop in and comment to make clarifications in discussions, but I will predominantly let the discussion happen among you from here on out.

Today, I want to talk about why you should care about agricultural communication research. You clearly care at least a little about agricultural communication research and theory or you wouldn’t be in this class.  I know this week’s readings may not have been page turners, but chapters two and three of your text provide some important foundation information for how we will investigate theory in agricultural communication.

As we discuss the importance of agricultural communication research, it is difficult to separate the values we associate with agricultural communication research. It is important for researchers to strive for a lack of biases in their research. A lack of biases make research and theory more valuable. However, as we have discussed agricultural communication is an applied discipline. We conduct research and build theory in order to solve problems in agricultural communication. Based on chapter two of your text and my discussion here, what axiological view does agricultural communication research take? Is this a positive or negative thing?

In agricultural communication, we often seek to address research questions or objectives through an epistemological lens. We try to understand how people know or don’t know about agriculture and its value in our society. We often research methods for exposing people to agricultural knowledge and understanding in explicit and tacit ways. As we try to understand how people respond to agriculture and policy related to agriculture and natural resources, we regularly investigate phenomenons and human decisions related to those. Critical theories seek to change the world, which is something we often try to do in agricultural communication, I believe figure 2.4 in your text describes this process well and will help you understand theories as we discuss them.

The terms in chapter 3 are important for understanding and interpreting research. I don’t intend to repeat all of the terms here, but know they are an important foundation as we continue to explore theory. Let me pose a few more questions for our class discussion. How might someone develop a campaign to improve agriculture’s public image from a scientific/objective paradigm approach? How would this campaign look if designed according to a humanistic/subjective approach?  How would you operationalize the concept of agriculture’s public image in order to conduct a quantitative survey?

18 thoughts on “Blog 3: Why Do We Conduct Agricultural Communications Research?

  1. It seems like agricultural communications researchers often approach research from axiological approach by bringing their values surrounding agriculture into their research. In fact, I would guess that these values are often what drives many researchers to conduct certain studies in the first place. For example, a researcher conducting a study on the effectiveness of various animal welfare campaigns, may decide to do so in order to solve problems surrounding the negative perceptions of animal agriculture from certain members of the general public.

    In my opinion the presence of axiology in agricultural communications research has both pros and cons. One positive aspect is that in agricultural communications research, the values held by the researcher may allow them to help solve the problems facing agricultural communications, such as negative misconceptions surrounding agriculture. On the other hand, the presence of these values and biases may decrease the value of the research, as Dr. Baker pointed out.

    In order to improve agriculture’s public image from a scientific/objective paradigm approach, one would likely try to predict the persuasive appeal of the potential campaign based on the laws of human behavior, and they would try to remove their personal biases upfront. As we’ve discussed in this class there are many negative misconceptions surrounding agriculture, so a person who was hoping to improve agriculture’s public image through the development of a campaign, from a scientific approach, would first need to take a careful look at several factors and look for regularities across cases. They might pay special attention to the demographics of the target audience in order to try and predict how the audience may respond to the visual content and the message of the campaign.

    From the subjective/humanistic approach, someone creating the same type of campaign would likely approach the campaign from a completely different angle. They might take a hermeneutic approach to creating a campaign by taking into account the social and political contexts surrounding the subject. In order to do so, they might look at different groups of people and the perceptions of these groups surrounding the phenomena. For example, let’s say that someone was creating a campaign to improve the image of common practices used within animal agriculture. The humanist might work to create a campaign that allows these specific groups to understand the reason for certain animal welfare practices in order to change their perceptions of animal agriculture.

    I would operationalize the concept of agriculture’s public image, in order to conduct a quantitative survey by first selecting (randomly) individuals from specific groups within the general public to take a survey. I would then work to develop a questionnaire that asks specific questions that address the respondents’ perceptions of agriculture. For instance, a question might include “Where do you obtain the majority the produce your household consumes? (Check one.) __Grocery Store __Farmer’s Market __My Garden ___Other:_________”. I would then analyze the results utilizing statistical techniques in order to interpret the data.

    Alyssa S.

    1. Alyssa,

      I also agree with you that agricultural communications researchers bring their values into their research. I think it is important for researchers to have some vested interest in their project otherwise the study may sit on the back burner for the researcher causing a half done project. I think that values have bring both pros and cons to any situation. While these values could decrease the value of research, I think that if the researcher is aware of their biases they should be held responsible for finding someone with alternative views to help balance the project.

      I like how you acknowledge the differences between a scientific and humanistic approach. I like to reflect on how I could combine both of the methods to gain a wider audience and provide a cost effective research project. I wonder how you could use your questionnaire at the end of your post in a humanistic approach? A survey will collect quantitative data and is the cookie cutter scientific approach example but I think there are ways surveys could also help the humanistic approach. I also loved your selection of responses to your question. I feel it covered the basics and will help others not feel left out.

      It was great to learn your outlook on this weeks reading.

      Christina P.

  2. Alyssa,

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and learning from you. I definitely related to your thoughts especially your statements regarding bringing a personal opinion into research. I put myself in the position of those conducting research as well as reflected back on the agriculture education research that I have conducted. After doing so, I can say that personal opinion does play a role even if we are not actually stating our opinion, the personal bias is almost always involved because even when deciding when and how to conduct the research the bias is going to shine through as to where the researcher’s interests are. However, within agriculture, research is done it seems mostly because of a vested interest in a specific topic etc. such as animal agriculture. I believe that is a positive attribute because it shows that research is being done because it’s a topic of interest rather than simply coming up with a topic or being forced to conduct research on something that may not be what the researcher is interested in. In addition, your approach to taking a quantitative survey was really interesting. Developing a questionnaire will provide you with the most prominent answers but also in a timely manner. Great job and good luck in the course!

    Ashlyn Richardson

  3. I have enjoyed this blog as I believe that it really allowed us as a class to put ourselves in the position of those conducting daily research within agriculture. I would like to begin by addressing what I learned in terms of axiological views in agriculture communication research and what those views focus on in terms of coming from a researcher. In my opinion, the axiological view that is taken in agriculture communication is that individual interests definitely do play a role. Chapter two in the text states that the value and worldview of the researcher are always present in research, even if the researcher claims to be totally neutral. They appear as the researcher chooses the topic, selects a method for research, and explains the implications of the findings. Therefore, with that being said all research has some sort of opinion played into the research. I find research within agriculture to be biased even if a specific opinion is not actually stated there is always a vested interest in the topic was selected for research. Therefore, the topic of study could be biased because the researcher is selecting something he or she feels strongly about and with that almost always is also accompanied by an opinion. Therefore, this can be a negative aspect because the research may not always be 100% directed at the other side of the information that the researcher is not totally addressing. On the other hand, it can be positive because often times if the researcher is more interested or more knowledgable about their interest on the research then it will be a stronger study. However, it also a good attribute to keep the research and interests separate.

    Second, figure 2.4 seems as though it will be a very strong tool to use to assist our class in understanding theories as well as capitalizes on several dimensions of theory. The figure is interesting because it fits two dimensions into three paradigms while also being able to show a variety of information on theory. The critical aspects of theory covering the top is vital as well as the humanistic theories and scientific/law theories covering the lower portion of the figure.

    Next, I worked to understand the important terms in chapter 3. Developing a campaign to improve the public image of agriculture from a scientific/objective paradigm approach could be transferring to studying a particular aspect of agriculture as in one specific objective as oppose to the entire realm of things. For example, the campaign could be potentially be best suited if it would be possible to narrow down a couple aspects to specifically educate on. On the other hand, humanistic would work best in understand real work aspects of agriculture as well as tangible. According to page 33 of the text it states that humanistic theory provides an in depth understanding of agriculture communication. In conclusion, that approach would be most likely to involve in depth research and even bring about biased thoughts. In addition, I would operationalize the concept of agriculture’s public image in order to conduct a quantitative survey by providing the opportunity to survey the most appropriate individuals to get the most desired outcome of an answer in a timely manner. I would also keep in mind that I will receive feedback from a variety of individuals all with various answers which will serve as a positive sample.

    I look forward to learning from each of you! Thanks!

    Ashlyn Richardson

    1. Ashlyn,

      Your thoughts on keeping interests and research separate intrigue me. I agree that some of the best research is conducted when the researcher is highly interested, but values can’t be kept out of the research as well. On the other hand, if a researcher is studying a topic of less interest, maybe is won’t be as quality or credible. This makes the separation difficult. As a student of agronomy, I am highly interested in crop production and the business management of a crop farm, but my research may be biased against the public perception of certain genetics that are grown. Should a research the outcome of a group ingesting GMO sweet corn versus conventional sweet corn, I would want to include other individuals in my study to be more credible. Including individuals who oppose the research I am conducting may also make my results more credible. This is an extreme example and overused, but relatable. What are your thoughts of including an individual who opposes your theory in your research? Would their opposition make research too difficult or make the results more credible?

      Maybe the opposition in the research would make the results more credible and neutral.

      Jessica Woofter

      1. As Ashlyn and Alyssa have stated, agriculture communication research, along with agriculture’s research in general takes an axiological view of including the researcher’s values. As Alyssa stated, it is difficult to be interested in a topic of research without including one’s values and bias. Chapter 2 indicates that some “say that no theory can be free of the values of the researcher.” I believe that some researchers will argue this statement, but why would one be conducting research if not interested in the topic?

        Including the values of the researcher can be a positive attribute in a way that includes the passion and interest of the researcher. These values could also clash with another’s values and create discuss and more questions about the research (if both individuals are open to this communication). The values included in research allow for stronger and more in-depth research.

        On the other hand, including the values of a researcher in the study make the research biased and the researcher close-minded. If a researcher holds strong values about a certain concept of their research, they may be closed minded to information that challenges their research.

        Maybe we are all being qualitative in our answers even though Dr. Baker asked a closed-answer question: ” Is this a positive or negative thing?” It is difficult to give a direct answer when the text doesn’t give a straight answer and we, as theorists don’t either! This isn’t a negative thing, but part of what we are studying in Chapter 3.

        As a salesperson, figure 2.4 reminds me of sales training I went through a few months ago. The axis were different and included outgoing, reserved, task oriented, and people oriented. Fitting myself into one of the quadrants helps me adjust my voice, body language and appearance to my prospect/customer if they fit in a different quadrant. You can find this model here:

        An agricultural campaign with a scientific/objective approach may be important to individuals who prefer to see tangible change or data. They like to see numbers in order to make decisions or form theories. The population change that we have all heard already to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050 could be integrated into this type of campaign with other statistics showing how production of crops, livestock and other resources need to grow. For a humanistic/subject campaign, a more realistic, emotional approach may work for others, those that numbers and data don’t appeal to. Both types of campaign are crucial to reach all types of people.

        I would operationalize the concept of agriculture’s public image through different interviews and surveys. My first approach would be to interview several random individuals about the concept and then condense the responses into a more quantitative approach of yes/no and multiple choice questions to a new, but still random population. The interviews would allow for a broaden picture and the survey would condense and quantify the results.

  4. Like many of my classmates have stated, I to agree, that the axiological view agricultural communication research takes on, is including one’s values in their research. I strongly agree with the book when the author states, “…no theorist and no research can be absolutely value-free or a completely objective or neutral picture of reality.” Research comes from a place of passion and wanting to know more about the world. It takes drive and dedication. To remove all bias, in my opinion, is impossible. As I read over the portion in the book covering axiology, I kept thinking how not only our own values and biases shape our research but, especially in agriculture, how the perceptions and values of others shape the research we do. The negative views that come from others about agriculture, could potentially create and shape the research we do, to better the industry. An obvious example might be animal husbandry. We, as an industry, might find something to be safe, economical, and humane for an animal but the general public may not view it the same way. This may drive researches to conduct research to find a solution that will produce the same outcome but be “friendlier” for the concerned general public.

    I personally believe that the role of values and objectives in research can either be positive or negative but I lean more towards the positive side. Research is driven from a desire to learn about something new. Behind desire comes personal opinions, interest, and a lot of other personal agendas. If this was all eliminated, I feel, the amount of research would decline and the desire to discover and improve aspects of the industry would be lost. With that being said, I also feel that an unprofessional amount of bias and values placed in research, could render the research unreliable and untrustworthy, defeating the work of the researcher. Like all things in life, you must find a balance.

    To develop a campaign to improve agriculture’s public image from an objective approach, one might pick a subject that not only affects agriculture but will affect the majority of the general public in terms they can see and understand. Something that is tangible and the public can see data sets and numbers. Take for example, the use of antibiotics in cattle and other livestock. The researcher could educate the public on the importance of antibiotics and why they are so important to the industry. They could then use images and videos to show sick and untreated livestock vs. healthy, treated, and safe to consume livestock. They could also use data to show the antibiotic withdrawal times of when the drug is administered to when it is no longer in the livestock’s system; indicating the meat is safe to consume and free of antibiotics. To develop a campaign using the subjective approach one might, take the same example listed above but instead of using tangible data and images, one might use more of a personal approach. For example, indicating the quality of life the animal has, due to the use of antibiotics.

    To operationalize the concept of agriculture’s public image, in order to conduct a quantitative survey, I would first randomly select willing participants. Next, I would create a survey that had different examples and scenarios of agriculture related topics. I would then have the participants rate the scenarios on a scale of 1-5. One being completely disagree with the agriculture industry and 5 being completely agree with the agricultural industry. Next, I would collect the data, analyze it, and come to a conclusion of the public’s view of the agriculture industry.

    1. Hi Kelsey,

      I really like how to describe the axiological approach in agricultural communications. The pros and cons that you point out are good examples too. I agree that bias can be good when used to accurately promote agriculture.
      Your example of studying antibiotic use in livestock is definitely a huge topic in agriculture today. The way you explained the study methods was detailed and helpful too!

      -Deanna R.

  5. Much like my fellow classmates and Dr. Baker have pointed out I believe that agricultural communications uses the axiological view that no theorist and no research can be absolutely value-free. The book suggests that when a researcher picks their topic or selects the methods for research their values and worldview is affecting them (pg. 24). I agree with the book that our values and culture affect our daily lives. They are often intertwined into who we are and guide us towards topics of interest in research. For instance, I am heavily interested in military youth programming within agriculture education and 4-H. My culture and values as a military spouse help spark these interests.

    In my opinion having some axiology in agricultural communications is necessary but much like a coin, it does have a flip side that we must be aware of. Our culture and values help shape our ethical decisions that we will make during research. Without our culture and values helping guide us we may not be able to tell wrong from right when designing research. The flip side of this is when our culture and values are drastically different from what society views as the norm. I am sure we all are aware of Little Albert and the monkey drug trials to name a few of the unethical research that was shaped by misguided values. It is important that we are aware of our culture and values when we are selecting a research topic to ensure that we can fulfill the objective without compromising our values and the study.

    Biases are hard to completely rule out when conducting research but I believe that if you are cognizant of your stance on a topic or issue prior to starting research, you can overcome many biases. I believe there will always be some sort of bias because you are picking a topic you have a vested interest in otherwise you would not find the research to be worthwhile. This is where the researcher must make sure they are acknowledging the other side during research to have a stronger study. A research committee or team that has varying views on the topic could aid in ensuring that the study is well rounded and not one sided.

    If someone was trying to create a campaign to improve agriculture’s public image from a scientific/objective approach, I believe they would identify a few variables they would like to measure and start collecting data. An example of this could be blind food testing between organic, conventional, and GMO grown corn. This approach wants hard tangible evidence to back their hypothesis up. This type of campaign is best when you can produce statistical data after the research. Much like the commercials that highlight the different types of food compared to generic, an agricultural campaign could highlight the differences and which one consumers preferred. A commercial campaign could even fit into a humanistic/subjective approach by putting faces to the statistics, creating a personal touch to the data. I think that all of the approaches could be used to create a well-rounded campaign. A commercial can provide statistics while using social context to highlight the findings.

    I would operationalize the concept of agriculture’s public image in order to conduct a quantitative survey by first modeling my survey off of the Illinois Farm Families project of bringing urban moms to farms first hand to experience agriculture. Before the mom’s start the journey they would complete a survey asking questions about their perceptions of Illinois Farms. An example of a question might be “What percentage of your produce in your household comes from the following locations? __ Grocery Store ___ My Garden __ Farmer’s Market/ Food COOP ___ other.” An additional question might be “Which of the following locations do you feel provides the highest quality of produce? __ Grocery Store ___ My Garden __ Farmer’s Market/ Food COOP ___ other.” I would then analyze data and schedule different tours based on the values and existing habits of selecting produce the moms have.


    Christina P.

    1. Christina,
      I completely agree with your opinion that no research or theorist can be completely value free. What we know and who we are as individuals, comes from a unique and vast array of circumstances, life lessons, and values, that shape our interest and what we like. I personally feel, when kept at a professional level, values and beliefs play a vital part in enhancing our industry. Personal values support a vast range of research in all areas of our industry. Like you had mentioned, your interest is military youth programming within agriculture education and 4-H. I myself have never been around military and would have never consider researching those types of programs, but I can see the importance of them. This is the exact reason I think values in research is such a great opportunity to allow for growth and diversity.

      Your example of organic vs. GMO corn was very insightful! I slightly struggled with the concept of objective vs. subject, after reading over your examples, it really set things in motion for me. I am a very visual and situational learner so being able to see things in a real-life scenario are very beneficial for me. I also appreciated your idea for the subjective campaign. Incorporating the data with faces and testimonials was something I had overlooked. I thin incorporating both aspects of research would be extremely beneficial and really drive the point home.

      I was unfamiliar with the Illinois Farm Families Project, but after doing some of my own research on the subject, it sounds like a great approach to base your quantitative survey off of. Thanks for bringing that project to my attention! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this week’s blog post!


    2. Hi Christina,

      I think you eloquently put your statement about the axiological aspect in our discipline. It is necessary, but there are consequences we should be aware of to ensure it doesn’t go too far. I also found your example of the Little Albert and the monkey drug trials interesting. It really sheds light on an important example of how we should use our values as some input into our research work. Additionally, I think we have similar thinking on the subjective/humanistic view of how to operationalize a research design. I think it’s important to evaluate a certain target audience and see their perceptions to begin with.

      I enjoyed reading and learning from your post. Definitely opened my eyes to other thinking I didn’t take into account when I wrote my post. Thanks for sharing!


    3. I really liked how you described axiology in agricultural communications “much like a coin,” I thought that was a wonderful way to explain your feelings on the situation to a person who may not have totally understood or grasped the concept. I think it is important we are aware of our culture and our values when we are selecting a research topic because I feel when we are very passionate about something it is easier to put our best efforts forward.
      I thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts about being bias while conducting research. To expand on what you had said I think with anything in life no matter how hard we try biases are hard to rule out completely, we are all humans with feelings and our own beliefs. I know that when I teach my animal ethics course my take home message is always to make sure that my students acknowledge both sides of an argument because I feel that understanding the opposing side makes them better understand the point in which they are trying to argue.
      Thanks for sharing!
      -Leah D.

  6. While researchers try to keep bias out of their work, it has been argued that, as Baldwin, Perry, and Moffitt state, “…the values and worldview of the researcher are always present in research, even if the researcher claims to be totally neutral.” Many times though, agricultural communication research stems from the interests or assumptions of the creator of a theory or a researcher. Most agricultural communications researchers are in some way impacted by or interested in the topics that they choose to study, which means that their studies are somewhat biased. I can see why this is such a hot topic in the research world, but I can also see how, without personal experiences or opinions, some research topics may never be explored. I think that many studies may not have happened if someone familiar with agricultural issues had not used their “bias,” if you will, to start research projects. In my opinion, in the agricultural communications field, as long as researchers are not using their work to blatantly promote things that they shouldn’t, having a personal connection to research is not a bad thing.

    If someone wanted to create a campaign to help the public image of agriculture using the scientific/objective paradigm approach, they would only use known or validated facts. They would use data that has been collected and checked scientifically. Personal bias would not be allowed to be a part of the campaign as it is not objective and tested. Perhaps this imaginary campaign would be promoting conventional dairy farmers’ care of their livestock. Researchers could investigate and collect data about milk yields and quality. This data could then be compiled, compared, and presented using scientific testing methods.

    If someone wanted to create a campaign using the humanistic/subjective approach, they would use things that create an emotional connection with their viewers or readers. Assuming they too are creating a campaign promoting conventional dairy farming, they could use adorable pictures of happy cows and brand new calves. They would probably not focus as much on data, numbers, and scientific things.

    In order to correctly conduct a quantitative survey, concepts must be operationalized. This means that how the concept will be measured must be explained and the details of what will be counted must be specified. Quantitative research can differ in how much one person’s research supports a specific theory as there are many different ways to measure concepts. However, researchers doing quantitative research usually use statistical methods to measure reliability and viability. For a quantitative survey, one would present a carefully worded set of questions to the target audience for the study. Those questions should be generalizable to a broader audience. Once answered, data would then be compiled and analyzed to support or refute the original hypothesis of the study.

    1. Deanna,

      I really enjoyed reading your post this week. I agree that it can be a good thing if a person has a personal connection to their research, especially in the field of agricultural communications. I also agree that a researcher’s worldview will impact their research to some degree, even if they are trying to be free of biases. In this class, I’m sure most of us are here because we are trying to acquire additional knowledge in our chosen fields to help better ourselves and make an impact through our chosen professions. I think that the same can be said for many researchers. They may choose to study a certain phenomenon because they are personally interested or they may want to help better the industry that they are passionate about.

      I also, really liked your example of a potential campaign to improve agriculture’s image. In using your example, someone who took a scientific/objective paradigm approach might develop a campaign and utilize infographics and commercials to share their message with statistics about dairy farming. While using the humanistic/subjective approach, they might show cows in green pastures chewing their cud, in order to appeal to the emotions of their audience.

      Finally, I really enjoyed reading your response to the question on conducting a quantitative survey. I think that this technique is essential in agricultural communications because we need to utilize quantitative research methods to acquire and present accurate statistics to build credibility.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective on the readings this week!

      Alyssa S.

  7. Axiology is the philosophy of the role that values take in our research. Because agricultural communication is an applied discipline, it can be assumed that researchers within this field of study most likely value agriculture. To me, it seems that most agricultural communication research would have an axiological view surrounding agriculture and that researchers would deliberately bring their values into their work in order to create a positive change for agriculture. I believe that adding this value into research, though it may be biased, is a positive thing. I think that research done to create a change that benefits agriculture is a good thing. I also think that research done by someone outside of the discipline, perhaps by someone with different values, can also provide insightful knowledge for agricultural communicators as well.
    A campaign to improve agriculture’s public image from a scientific/object paradigm approach would involve sharing factual information about a controversial, agricultural topic. For example, a campaign designed to improve agriculture’s public image by helping the public to better understand the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) in agriculture may contain messaging that explains the positive impact of GMO’s in agriculture. Examples of information shared could include a percentage increase in food production, increasing population predictions, and findings from research determining the safety and quality of GMO food products.
    If you take the same campaign example and redesign it as a humanistic/subject approach, strategic messaging would create an emotional connection between the campaign and the targeted audience. For example, the campaign might include conversations with a farmer explaining the benefits that GMO’s have provided for their own farm, or a parent explaining that they can trust GMO food products and why they choose to feed their own family those products.
    To operationalize the concept of agriculture’s public image to create a quantitative survey, I would state by generating random survey respondents to participate in a questionnaire that asks specific questions which address their own perceptions of agriculture. These questions could ask respondents to rank (on a numerical scale) their own understanding or point of view of agricultural topics. The survey, assuming that the reach provided a range of participants, could then provide a conclusion of a public view of agriculture’s public image.

  8. Jessica W.,
    I appreciated your thoughts about Dr. Baker’s question “Is this a positive or negative thing?”, regarding the axiological view of agricultural communications research. I agree that including values in research could, in fact, lead to more in depth discussions and further research. After I read your thoughts on whether this question was meant to be “close answered”, I thought about the question a little differently. Originally (and in my post), I answered this question similarly to most of our classmates. I answered that I thought there was both positive and negative aspects. If you think about the question in more of a black and white point of view, then I would have to change my response. I would say that yes, having values in research is desirable. By deliberately bringing values into research positive change can be created.
    Also, thanks for sharing the training model example. I initially had a hard time fully understanding the figure 2.4 from the book. I appreciate you making this connection!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    -Hannah A.

  9. Agricultural communications research is similar to other disciplines’ research because both have researchers on each side of the spectrum – those who incorporate values into their work and those who don’t believe in including these biases. It takes all kinds of kinds to make the world work, and I see a place for both types in research work. After reading some research, I think some agricultural communications work includes values in their research and theory, as you would expect it. Without values behind our ideas, we would have no motivation or reason to complete these research projects for solving problems. As I’ve previously stated, I think both kinds of research are beneficial to the discipline. However, as with anything in life, too much of one thing can have negative effects. As Dr. Baker and some of the researchers in our text pointed out, it can prove research and theory more valuable. I believe there’s a fine line to try to keep between these types of research.

    When designing a campaign to improve agriculture’s public image from a scientific/objective paradigm approach, we would need to remove the axiological view from our research design. In scientific/objective paradigm approach, we would need to consistently test groups with hopes of generalizability to a larger population. The research design would need to focus on patterned and predicted ways of humans, so a thorough literature review would be necessary for a successful research project that can be replicated in the future.

    On the opposite side, a subjective/humanistic approach would need to include different aspects. Subjective/humanistic approaches should consider the world people live in and their potential views or values. We need to understand the target audience in this scenario to know where to build our campaign around. When thinking about this idea, I automatically think of a target audience of “mothers”. To create a successful campaign, we first need to understand the values and lifestyles of mothers – something that is classified as a humanistic approach.

    To begin operationalizing this idea, I would first conduct a survey to a population in an urban area. I would start with a survey to find a general idea of what the public doesn’t know. I also chose an urban area because it would be too difficult, in my eyes, to try and do a national survey. If this initial research design was successful, it could be replicated to other similar areas to ensure validity. In the future, this study could be generalized to a larger public and still build on existing theory.


  10. Research is a remarkable tool for the agricultural community, it is through this research that farmers can gain knowledge to improve traits both in their crops and in their livestock. These improvements are vital to not just the farmer but to the entire world. I believe the axiological view behind agricultural communication research is the value that these researchers feel for our agricultural industry. I feel that specific research is chosen because there are people that feel very passionate about certain issues, this passion I believe is what drives these researchers to become involved in the first place. To me I feel this passion is a positive thing, when someone brings their values into their research they become proud and enthusiastic about the work that they do, and no matter what obstacles they may face they are equipped and determined to overcome them.

    From animal rights protests to food safety controversies there is always a great need for agriculture to defend itself. To improve agriculture’s public image from a scientific/ objective approach one would first need to have an understanding of the misconceptions in agriculture, I feel if a person doesn’t totally understand a topic they may find it challenging to properly address the situation adequately and efficiently. While it is important to be educated on the subject matter one must also remember to control their biases so that they are as certain as possible with their research. In order to ensure that a scientific approach is followed properly there must be variables or concepts that can vary in relationship to one another. In order to urge objectivity a researcher must test for the same thing each time the approach is used.

    If the humanistic/ subjective approach was used the goal would be to try to understand the perception of agriculture’s public image within a specific cultural group rather than using a large number of randomly selected participants (like they would in the scientific approach).

    In order to conduct a quantitative survey on the concept of agriculture’s public image I would want to ensure that the surveys I designed would be sent out to randomly selected people from across the country (making sure I didn’t focus on any one specific culture group). It would be a numerical based questionnaire with its end result to be to determine the public’s view on agricultures public image.

    -Leah D.

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