Ison, R.L.

Rapid Rural Appraisal: a Participatory Problem Formulation Method Relevant to Australian Agriculture

This paper discusses the initial trial application of RRA to agricultural research and development in Australia. It is suggested that the concepts which underpin RRA and the range and richness of outcomes make it a relevant tool for the formulation of problems for agricultural research and development in northern countries. A model for future agronomic research which has emerged from the RRA experiences and which incorporates RRA is proposed.

University Education for Multiple-goal Agriculture in Australia

This article questions the purpose of agricultural education: what qualities should graduates have? It also advocates greater client orientation and project -based learning. The emerging farming systems perspective and issues of sustainability and concern with human goals are discussed. It is suggested that debate on the goals and processes of agricultural education and agriculture itself should give rise to changes in university teaching and learning. The article is based on experience of, and directed towards, agriculture and agricultural education in Australia.

The Research-Development Relationship in Rangelands: An Opportunity for Contextual Science

This excellent paper argues for a contextual grounding for research and development in rangelands. Since R&D is designed to bring about change, how is our understanding of R&D developed, and how is our understanding of 'change' constructed? A distinction is proposed between the perceptions and actions of the researcher. In 'first-order' R&D the researcher remains outside the system studied. This assumes an objective stance and interventions in a closed system.

Changing Community Attitudes

This paper argues the case for participative ecodesign as a means of conducting future rangeland research and development in Australia. To embark on this path it will be necessary for the rangeland science community to critically question traditions and myths which shape current practices. These include current concepts of extension, technology transfer, community and human communication. Research has shown that attitudes of rangeland decisions makers are rarely a constraint to dealing with issues of land degradation and management and technology adoption.