Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stakeholder participation in agricultural research projects: a conceptual framework for reflection and decision-making

Stakeholder participation in agricultural research projects: a conceptual framework for reflection and decision-making. Authors: Neef, Andreas; Neubert, Dieter Agriculture and Human Values, Volume 28, Number 2, June 2011 , pp. 179-194(16)

This article (13 pages) gives an overview of the literature and provides a useful framework for decision making on how to collaborate with intended users of research and making them co-producers of research.

Abstract:

The whole wave of attention to bringing research into use, linking knowledge to action, and knowledge brokering models to promote interactivity provokes kind of a 'deja-vu' feeling, as in agriculture this started in the early 1980's.

Recent discourse in the field of participatory agricultural research has focused on how to blend various forms and intensities of stakeholder participation with quality agricultural science, moving beyond the simple “farmer-first” ideology of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Yet, most existing frameworks of participation in agricultural research still adhere to a linear typology of participatory research with an inherent claim of “the more participation, the better.” In this article, the authors propose a new framework that looks at participatory research elements along different dimensions and attributes and thus takes into account the diversity and dynamics of agricultural research projects.

The framework provides a basis for agricultural researchers engaged in participatory processes with local stakeholders to decide for which issues and in which phases certain participatory elements could be used in a specific research context. Rather than aiming at maximizing the adoption of participatory methods, it can thus become a tool for optimizing the use of participatory approaches in agricultural research.

The authors conclude that this framework can be a starting point for a more thoughtful integration of participatory elements in agricultural research projects that does justice to the multidimensional and dynamic nature of stakeholder participation in varying contexts.

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