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  1. Choosing a Topic

  2. Solving Problems • Research is all about solving problems—Do you agree? • Approach to Solution is • Methodical, • Objective, • Evidence based, • Repeatable • Allows for criticism, discussion and improvement of Solution and Research Process.

  3. Because it’s there

  4. Where do you find the problem? • Your own experience • Scientific index/abstracted literature • Grey literature: Reports, newsletters of NRI, IRI, NGOs, Producer Groups, Agro-business • General Media • Talking to people

  5. Research for WhomConsumers of your product • Small Farmer: • Full time high potential area: commercial • Urban and peri-urban added income • Low potential area: subsistence • Other category? • Larger Scale Commercial Farmer • Value added industry • Agro product/service provider, including banks • Community/Environmental health organizations

  6. Research for Whom 2 • Planners: all levels of government • Specific customers • NGO’s of other types looking for interventions • Social interventions- using agriculture as a means to a social end • Particular Farm • Producers Groups • Others?

  7. Academic M.Sc Approaches • Approach 1: Student conceives, plans, carries out, analyzes and reports on a “stand-alone” study with help and guidance of supervisor • Approach 2: Student fits into a “niche” in an on-going study. This usually involves research team all under supervision/management of supervisor or supervisors.

  8. Consider being a technique specialist • Use of participatory methods for research • Integration of Climatic Data with agricultural research • Integration of GIS information with agricultural research. • Use of biotechnology (and other “bench” techniques) for agricultural research • Research management, data management and/or analysis, quality assurance • Use of print, vocal and video media for communication of research messages

  9. Consider research on research • If you read journals in your topic area you will see that they are full of research testing old and new methods in their discipline. • You may find that there are many techniques in regular use at your university or institute that have not be examined or standardized for many years. • Also, there may be many ongoing projects at your institute to which you could successfully contribute quality assessments of lab or field techniques for a minimum of resources. • See the section on research quality assurance in this course and consider these possibilities. Especially useful where funds for research are limited!

  10. What will be your outputs? • What will you be directly responsible for in your study • The achievement of objectives • Publication of thesis • Publication of new knowledge in a accessible media-> journals, database • Perhaps also, policy paper, extension bulletin, germplasm, extract, formulation

  11. From Tony Simmons: “Eggs in one Basket”

  12. From Tony Simmons: “Eggs in one Basket” Published New Knowledge/ Understanding New Abilities and Techniques New germplasm, new access to germplasm New Policy Options Researchers cite your paper Policy makers use your brief Germplasm used in breeding prgm Changes occurs because of your output Increased income, food security, environmental stability