A conceptual framework for guiding the participatory development of agricultural decision support systems
Scientists develop decision support systems (DSSs) to make agricultural science more accessible for farmers and extension officers. Despite the growing use of participatory approaches in agricultural DSS development, reflection on this endeavour has largely focused on the 'doing' of participation or the 'problem of implementation' when DSSs have not been adopted by stakeholders. There has been little reference to relevant theoretical approaches to the social processes involved in 'participation' or 'implementation'. However, if DSS use is to reach its full potential, a more conceptually informed understanding of how stakeholders collaborate in the participatory development of DSSs is required. To contribute to this conceptualisation, we developed a framework based on three concepts drawn from the field of science and technology studies: technological frames, interpretative flexibility and boundary objects. The framework highlights the importance and value of social learning for participatory DSS development, which relies upon exploring the participating parties' different perspectives on the agricultural system represented in the DSS. Our framework provides a broad definition of success for participatory DSS development, placing greater weight on learning during the participatory process compared with subsequent use of the DSS by farmers and/or advisors. Two case studies of stakeholder collaboration to develop an irrigation scheduling DSS for sugarcane production were used to explore the relevance of the framework. The concepts in the framework were clearly displayed during the case studies. At the conclusion of the studies there were contrasting outcomes for the DSS. One group of farmers was keen to apply it in their ongoing irrigation management, while another saw little relative advantage in use of the DSS. In both instances co-learning occurred amongst case study participants, so the participatory process was clearly a success.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- McCown, R. L., 2002. "Changing systems for supporting farmers' decisions: problems, paradigms, and prospects," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 179-220, October.
- J Murdoch, 1995. "Actor-networks and the evolution of economic forms: combining description and explanation in theories of regulation, flexible specialization, and networks," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 27(5), pages 731-757, May.
- Nelson, R. A. & Holzworth, D. P. & Hammer, G. L. & Hayman, P. T., 2002. "Infusing the use of seasonal climate forecasting into crop management practice in North East Australia using discussion support software," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 393-414, December.
- Williams, Robin & Edge, David, 1996. "The social shaping of technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 865-899, September.
- Walker, Daniel H., 2002. "Decision support, learning and rural resource management," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 113-127, July.
- Gibbons, James M. & Sparkes, Debbie L. & Wilson, Paul & Ramsden, Stephen J., 2005. "Modelling optimal strategies for decreasing nitrate loss with variation in weather - a farm-level approach," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 113-134, February.
- Isabelle Huault & V. Perret & S. Charreire-Petit, 2007. "Management," Post-Print halshs-00337676, HAL.
- M. Muro & P. Jeffrey, 2008. "A critical review of the theory and application of social learning in participatory natural resource management processes," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(3), pages 325-344.
- Carberry, P. S. & Hochman, Z. & McCown, R. L. & Dalgliesh, N. P. & Foale, M. A. & Poulton, P. L. & Hargreaves, J. N. G. & Hargreaves, D. M. G. & Cawthray, S. & Hillcoat, N. & Robertson, M. J., 2002. "The FARMSCAPE approach to decision support: farmers', advisers', researchers' monitoring, simulation, communication and performance evaluation," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 141-177, October.
- Hearn, A. B. & Bange, M. P., 2002. "SIRATAC and CottonLOGIC: persevering with DSSs in the Australian cotton industry," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 27-56, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:103:y:2010:i:9:p:675-682. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.