Home Study Course -Learn Horticultural Research Skills
- Any good professional horticulturist will improve their career and business prospects by developing stronger research skills.
- Growers need an ability to properly research the viability of a crop, before investing time and money into a venture. Nurserymen, landscapers and garden managers often need to research the viability of plants they choose to use before making major decisions in their workplace.
- Knowing and applying research skills is a critical tool for risk management in virtually any horticultural workplace.
Good research skills will enable you be an innovator in horticulture, and to identify trends, issues, and needs that can create new opportunities and directions in horticulture.
The course contains seven lessons:
1. Determining Research Needs
2. Searching for Information
3. Research Methods
4. Using Statistics
5. Conducting Statistical Research
6. Research Reports
7. Reporting on a Research Project
For many students, their first experience with research occurred in school where they were required to prepare a research report or a presentation on a particular subject.
This would have been a fundamental level of research, and its aim was probably to gather information on a topic, which was later presented to an intended audience (a class, teacher etc). Examples are research on a particular country, animal, or political system.
Another (higher) level of research aims at answering a research question (sometimes called the thesis question).
In this instance, information that is gathered and presented is chosen in order to answer that question.
Examples of research questions are:
- Why do plants thrive in one part of a garden, but have stunted growth in another part of the same garden?
- How can a sustainable crop be grown on a particular degraded site in drought conditions?
- What main social and political factors contribute to poverty in country X?
- Why is the Madagascan lemur an endangered species?
- How was language used to justify and maintain the Cold War last century?
Well formulated and pertinent questions can lead to meaningful research projects that can greatly increase our understanding of the world and ourselves. The problem with this kind of research, though, is that it can be very difficult to know what questions to ask.
This course will develop the skills and knowledge needed to plan, conduct and report on research in social, technological and environmental issues that impact on Horticulture today and which are needed for strategic business planning.