Research Methods And Techniques

Any research which makes use of observations based on past events is known as research in historical approach. The main aim of historical research is to apply the method of reflective thinking to social and economic problems still unsolved by means of discovery of past trends of events; facts and attitudes. It traces lines to development in human thought and action intruder to reach some basis for social activity. Historical research method like all other research methods is not merely concerned with collection of data and facts but editing analysis, evaluation and interpretation of data are integral parts of it. The historical research should conduct critical evaluation and interpretation of historical documents and records in such a manner that general law, treads or hypothesis can be framed. Historical research is essential for both basic and applied research in social sciences.

According to Walter R. Borg, Historical Research is the systematic and synthesis objective location, evaluation synthesis of evidence in order to establish facts and draw conclusions concerning past events.

To quote Sheik Ali Historical research is digging in to the past in order to re – enact the past in its entirety to reconstruct the past events as fully as they have happened to explain the meaning and significance of these events to correct the wrong notions so long prevalent, if any, and to elaborate analyse, synthesise and philosophies the ideas in the light of the knowledge we possess.

Robert G. Murdik says that Historical research is concerned with establishing the occurrence of unique events. Although one phase of historical research consists only of determining of past events the ultimate phase deals and present the establishment of pattern of relation ships and the starting point of projecting trends.

In the simple words, Historical method seeks to find explanation of questions of current interest by an intensive study of the past. Past always contains elements of the present. Past, present and future are all well inter-linked. Infect every project of research has more or less historical approach. In discussing any problem we must know the history of the problems and only then the problem can be solved easily, quickly and accurately. To quote P.V. Young, The past, if it can be located, contains the key to the present, though today is different from yesterday, it was shaped by yesterday. Today and yesterday will probably influence tomorrow.

Significance of Historical Method

Historical research is useful both for theoretical and practical purposes. It has made important contribution to various branches of natural as well as social sciences. Some problems are so typical that they can only be investigated by this approach. Thus this method fills a gap of making the research possible and meaningful and some problems other wise would have remained unexplored with out it. Many a times it is of considerable interest to use time series data for assessing the progress of the impact of several policies which can be done by looking in to historical records only.

Sources of Historical Data

Generally, there are the following major sources of historical information before a social researcher:

  • books and magazines
  • assessable documents, papers and literature
  • cultural and analytical history material
  • memories, personal letters and accounts
  • personal sources of authentic observers and witnesses
  • diaries and confessions
  • autobiographies
  • scared archives
  • diplomatic agreements
  • statistical materials
  • Artistic materials, historical paintings, portraits, charts, maps, etc.


The advantages of historical methods are

  1. Some problems are such which can be investigated only by this method and may not offer other methods. Therefore, historical method fills in the big gap of making the research possible and also meaningful on the problems that would otherwise have remained unexplore
  2. Historical data is not repeatable under any circumstances and therefore, historical method serves a needy hand method to the researchers whose problems depend on historical observations. It is fairly easy to repeat observations in laboratories under controlled conditions but can not be done in case of historical data. Historical method, therefore, has an advantage to offer the past data under the then prevailing conditions and afford an opportunity to the researcher to view these observations in the past setting.
  3. Historical records provide very useful information that goes a long way towards the solution of research problem. As already said the researcher is compelled to fall back up on past data since he can to create these afresh and hence it is highly advantageous to follow historical method where the use of time series data is unavoidable in any case.


Historical method is not free from limitations. The main draw backs are:-

  1. Non-Matching situations
  2. Over-generalization
  3. Subjective Interpretations

Limitations may also arise in the writing of history itself because

  • Historians can not write history life-sizes
  • Not all happenings in time and space can be known at the time of writing
  • Personal biases and private interpretations often enter unconsciously, even when honest attempts are made to select pertinent facts, to arrange them consistently, and to place them in a coherent and true frame of reference.

However, it should be observed that this approach can not be dispensed with as large number of problems can not be investigated in the absence of historical research many times even other approaches to research would desirably insight in to their own investigations.

Necessary conditions for Historical Research

  1. selection of topic for research
  2. social in sight
  3. Historical orientation
  4. Knowledge of related social sciences
  5. Wide educational back ground
  6. Familiarity with the topic and its objectives
  7. Dispassionate study
  8. Imaginative capacity
  9. Selection and rejection of the material
  10. Analyzing and coordinating capacity
  11. Knowledge of study field
  12. Knowledge of his own limitations
  13. Availability of necessary facilities

Steps Involved in Historical research

The main steps involved in historical research are

  • Selection of the problem
  • Objectives of the study
  • Formulation of hypothesis
  • Preparations for collection of data
  • Testing of hypothesis
  • Evaluation of data
  • Organization of data
  • Interpretation and writing report

A case study is deep and intensive study of a particular social unit, confined to a very small number of cases. Thus the field of study in the case study method is limited but it aims at studying all aspects of a social unit. It also seeks to determine social process; it reveals the complexity of factors and indicates their sequences and their relationships. It is also a diagnostic study oriented towards finding out what is happening and why it is happening and what can be done about it. Case study says Charles H. Colley, depends on our perception and gives us a clear insight in to life


Important definition of the case study method is

P.V young- case study is method exploring and analyzing the life of a social unit, a personal, a family, institution, cultural groups or even an entire community.

Goode and Hatt- Case study is a way of organizing social data so as to preserve the unitary character of the social object being studied. Expressed some what differently it is an approach which views any social unit as a whole.

F.I. Whitney – Case study is a complete analysis and report of the status of an individual subject with respect as a rule to specific phase of his total personality.

Characteristics of Case Study Method

  • It places more emphasis on a full contextual analysis of fewer events or conditions and their interrelations.
  • Although hypothesis is often used, the reliance on qualitative data makes support or rejection more difficult.
  • An insight on detail provides valuable insight for problem solving, evaluation, and strategy. This detail is secured from multiple sources of information. It allows evidence to be verified and avoids missing data.
  • Although case studies have maligned (criticized) as Scientifically worthless because they do not meet minimal design requirements for comparison, they none the less have a significant scientific role. Thus, a single, well-designed case study can provide a major challenge to a theory and can provide source of new hypothesis and constructs simultaneously.


The main advantages of case study method are it:

  • produces new ideas and fresh suggestions
  • helps in formulating a sound hypothesis
  • may also help in exploring new areas of research

Since the case study method makes an in depth study of a particular unit of investigation and is always approached with an open mind, it bestows upon the researcher further exploration of the research field.


Though the case study method has contributed much to the social research, some social scientists have raised some objections against the value and validity of case study. The case study method has often criticized on the basis of the following limitations.

  • It develops false sense of confidence which is detrimental to any scientific out look. Every thing about the subject can’t be known although each unit is studied.
  • Generalizations about similar cases are impossible
  • It does not provide universal, impersonal and common aspects of phenomena.
  • It is quite unsystematic in the absence of any control up on the informant or the researcher.
  • Case study situations are seldom comparable
  • It is difficult to apply the usual scientific methods without destroying the unique value of the personal document will be lost if it is formalized and abstracted.

Basic Assumptions of the Case Study Method

  1. The case study method is not in it self a scientific basic at all, it is merely a first step in scientific procedure.
  2. It is assumed that in the fact of apparent diversity among different units, there is an underlying unit. A particular unit has its uniqueness. But it is not different from other units in all respects. Under this method it is assumed that a unit selected is the representative of a group. In many respects it is similar to measures of central tendency or averages. It tries to locate the variations in the reactions and activities of the subject.
  3. It is also assumed that the study of a particular unit is helpful in the prediction and discussion of other units of the same universe.
  4. A unit is indivisible whole and can not be studied piece-meal and in fragments. We must study its life history and its back ground and to explain the behavior at a particular time are few, but more.

Steps Involved in Case Study

  1. selection of cases and identification of situations,
  2. collection and recording of data,
  3. interpretations of data,
  4. report writing,

The term survey is used for the technique of investigation by a direct observation of a phenomena or systematic gathering of data form population by applying personal contact, and interviews when an adequate information about a certain problem is not available in records, files and other sources. It is currently being used in those investigations also where published data is used.

Some of the important definitions of social survey are as follows:-

  • A.F Wells- Social survey is fact-finding study dealing chiefly with working class, poverty and with the nature and problems of community.
  • C.A. Moser- The sociologists should look up on surveys as way and a supremely useful one of exploring the field of collection data around as well as directly on the subject of the study so that problem is brought in to focus and points worth studying are suggested
  • Mark Abrams- A social survey is process by which quantitative facts are collected about the social aspect of community’s composition and activities.
  • F.L. Whitney-survey research is an organized attempt to analyze, interpret and report the present status of social institution group or area.

Survey method is, thus, the technique of investigation by direct observation of phenomena or systematic gathering of data from population. Survey research is defined as an organized attempt to analyze, interpret and the present status of social group.

The surveys may be classified with the following types:

General or Specific Surveys

A general survey is conducted for collecting general information of any population, institution or phenomena without any hypothesis while specific surveys are conducted for specific problems or for testing the validity of some theory or hypothesis.

Regular and Ad hoc Surveys

If the survey is repeated for regular intervals to obtain continuous information, it is known as regular survey. It helps in the study trend of the effect of time on the phenomena under the study for regular surveys a permanent machinery for collecting information has to be set up.

Ad hoc surveys are conducted once for all and are non-repetitive. Such surveys may also be conducted in testing the hypothesis or supplementing some missing information regarding any research problem.

Preliminary and Final Surveys

Preliminary survey is the plot study to get the first hand knowledge of the universe under study. It helps the researcher in preparing schedule or questionnaire and organizing the survey on proper lines. Final surveys are made after the pilot study has been completed.

Census and Sample Survey

Census survey deals with the investigation of entire population. Under this method the information is collected from each and every unit of the universe. Money, material, time and labour required for carrying out a census survey are bound to be extremely large but its results are no more accurate and reliable. In case of sample survey only a small part of the universe which is representative of the whole population is taken and the information is collected. Thus the sample surveys are more economical and less time and labour consuming.

Survey method has the following merits in comparison on with other methods:

  • fosters direct close contact between researcher and respondents.
  • greater objectivity it avoids the possibility of personal biases.
  • useful in testing the validity of many theories.
  • proved its usefulness in leading to the formulation and testing of hypothesis.
  • social surveys are based on actual observations.
  • it has a universal application.
  • Survey method is costly, time consuming and wasteful in certain cases where the objectives are limited.
  • Unsuitable if the number of persons to be surveyed is very large or where they are spread over a large geographical area.
  • Under this method personal bias may vitiate the result.
  • It lacks flexibility.
  • It is only useful for current problems and is not suitable for the problem that requires the study in the historical retrospect.
  • Does not permit more comprehensive and dynamic study of the society.
  • Under this method most of the surveys are conducted on sample basis.
  1. Selection of a problem
  2. Preliminary study or pilot study
  3. General objective of the study and specific objectives
  4. Resources and personnels
  5. Sampling
  6. Method of collecting data
  7. Training the investigating staff
  8. Organizing of the field work
  9. Content analysis
  10. Reporting

According to Festinger, The essence of an experiment may be described as observing the effect on a dependent variable of the manipulation of an independent variable.

In the words of Greenwood, An experiment is the proof of a hypothesis which seeks to look up two factors in a casual relation ship through the study of contracting situations which have been controlled on all factors except the one of interest the later being either the hypothetical case or the hypothetical effect.

According to V.H. Bedkar, Experimental method implies a controlled observation of a succession of events the aim is to search for casual connection

This research method goes by various names, the experimental methods, the cause and effect method, the pretest- post test control group design and the laboratory method. The basic idea behind this method is to attempt to account for the influence of a factor or, as in the case of complex designs, of multiple factors conditioning a given situation.

In its simplest form, the experimental method attempts to control the entire research situation, except for certain input variables which then become suspect as the cause of what ever change has taken place with in the investigation design. The experimental research method requires us the understanding of different variables. But what are variables?

The term variable is used by scientists and researchers as a synonym for the property being studied. In this context, a variable is a symbol to which numerals or values are assigned.

The numerical value assigned to a variable is based on the variable properties. For example, referred to as being dichotomous, have only two values reflecting the presence or absence of a property: employed- unemployed or male- female have two values. Variables can be seen in to two categories:

Independent Variable

Independent variable is a variable that affects the value or characteristic of another variable (the dependent variable). It can be manipulated or controlled by the researcher so that its effect can be seen. Independent variables can also be classifying variables.

For example (1) in a study about the effect of assignment provision on the academic achievement of students, the independent variable is assignment provision. The researcher can control the situation of assignment provision. He/she may or may not provide assignment to the subjects. So assignment provision is under the will of the researcher.

Dependent Variable

This is a variable being affected or assumed to be affected by the independent variable. It is a measure of the effect of the independent variable. In the first example given above academic achievement is the dependent variable.

Generally, if the investigator has control over the variable and is able to manipulate it or change it at will, then we say that variable is an Independent variable. If, on the other hand, the investigator has no control over the variable and it occurs as the result of the influence of the independent variable, then the variable is known as the dependent variable.

The matter of control is central to the experimental method. We frequently refer to this means for searching for truth as the control group, experimental group design. At the out set, we assume that the forces and dynamics with in both groups are equisetic. We begin, as far as possible with matched groups. These groups are randomly selected and paired so that, each group will resemble the other in as many characteristics as possible and, certainly, with respect to those qualities that are critical to the experiment.

Mathematically, Experimental group = control group

Characteristics of the Experimental Metho

The experimental method deals with the phenomenon of cause and effect.

Thus, we have two situations and we assess each to establish comparability. We attempt to alter one of these by introducing in to it an extraneous dynamic. We reevaluate each situation after the intervening attempt at alteration. What ever change is noticed is presumed to have been cause by the extraneous variable

Experimental research needs to be planned.

This planning is called the designing of the experiment. Experimental design refers to the architectonics and planning of the entire experimental approach to a problem for research.

Advantages of Experimental Method

Main advantages of experimental method may be summarized as follows.

  • This approach is more rigorous. It has the advantage of scientific and vigor and mathematical logic in so far as the entire piece of research work is based on a well founded model.
  • In comparison to other methods, this approach permits the determination of cause and effect relation ship more precisely and clearly.
  • Under identified conditions, a lot of it depends on the behavior of the respondents. A respondent is always under the in thecae diverse social organism and it all depends on the type of mental frame that he has at the time the researcher approaches him for information.

Problems of Social Experiments

  • Difficulty of co-operation
  • Difficulty of setting
  • Difficulty of control
  • Errors of Measurement

Field Investigation Research
A field experiment is a research study in realistic situation in which one or more independent variables are manipulated by the experimenter under as carefully controlled conditioned as the situations will permit. Where the laboratory experiment has a maximum of control, most field studies must operate with less control a factor that is often a severe handicap to the experiment. The weakness of field experiment, therefore, is of practical nature. The control can not be held as very tight, the investigator himself works under several influences and may at times be faced with unpleasant situations and the independent variables may got affected by uncontrolled environmental influences.

A field experiment is generally credited with a few virtues which are supposed to be unique to this category of a research. This virtues may be listed as: (1) the variables in a field experiment. This is because of the fact that field situation takes stock of realistic natural operations. (2) field experiments have the advantage of investigating more fruitfully the dynamics of inter- relationships of small groups of variables. (3) Field experimental studies are as so ideal to testing of the theory and the solution of the real world problems.
Ex-post facto Research
This is an empirical research and the researcher does not have any control over independent variables, because they have already been manifested. Ex-post facto researches systematic empirical inquiry in which the scientist does not have direct control of independent variables because their manifestations have already occurred or because they are in hearth not manipulability.

Inferences about relations among variables are made, with out direct intervention, from concomitant variation of independent are dependent variables. This kind of research is based on a scientific and analytical examination of dependent and independent variables- Independent variables are studied in retrospect for seeking possible and plausible relations and the likely effects that the changes in independent variables, produce on a single or a set of dependent variables.

In es-post facto research, the researcher’s control on the behavior of independent variables is very weak and in many cases no control is possible.

Some of the weaknesses of ex-post facto research are summarized here under.

  • The inability to control the charging patterns of independent variables.
  • The ex-post facto research findings owe the risk of improper interpretations
  • The ex-post facto research may not have any particular hypothesis as there is a likely hood that such an hypothesis may predict a spurious relationship between independent and dependent variables.

Laboratory Research
By definition, research of this type is confined to lab. Experiments alone. The basic feature of such research is that there exists a possibility of exercising control over independent variables and isolating their influences for plausible explanations. A laboratory experiment is a research study in which the variance of all or nearly all of the possible influential independent variables not pertinent to the immediate problem of the investigation is kept at a minimum. This is done by isolating the research in a physical situation apart from the or ordinary living and by manipulating one or more independent variables under rigorously specified, operational zed and controlled conditions. This type of research has a limited application in social sciences as it extremely difficult to study social variables in isolation of each other. However, it may, at times be possible to create a situation; where in a maximum control can be exercised to keep the variations among the independent variables at a maximum. In such cases laboratory experiment types of research may find its applicability in social research as well.
Action Research
This is a recent classification. This type of research is conducted through direct action. The actual study may consist of a number of phases, say, base-line survey, systematic action, periodical assessment, etc. A good example of action research is a study of test marketing. A base line survey is initially conducted and the informants are identified; and this is followed by the distribution of the product under study, and then an assessment of survey.

It is very useful method in consumer product. Even in the case of industrial products, machinery and consumer durables, the action research method is used when, instead of distributing the product, demonstration is made as part of action research. Action research is also termed as applied research because it is a type of research that will be conducted to solve immediate practical problem(s). By its very definition, it is research through launching of a direct action with the objective of obtaining workable solutions to the given problems.

In conducting research through launching of actions, this type of research has the quality of adapting itself to the changes take place in a given population. Action research is spread over different phases such as a base line survey, where all the possible information of research interest is collected to enable the researcher to acquaint him self with the existing operational situations. This also aims at collecting information from the other sources that have direct or planned action is particularly launched and then at the next phase action research carries out periodical assessment of the project.

At subsequent stage, changes, modifications and other improvements are made in the functional aspect of the project and finally the whole process culminates in the evaluation of the project as a whole.

The method used for this type of research is usually personal interviews method and the survey method. Some times attitude measurement techniques are also made use of some problems associated with action research are the personal values of the personal values of the individuals, lack of social scientists interest and exclusion locations with the respondent.

Generally, action research is directed to the solution of immediate, specific and practical problems. The findings of action/ applied research will be evaluated in terms of local applicability and not in terms of universal validity (usefulness). It is mainly intended to improve certain contextual problem and helps to add greater effectiveness in a certain practical manner. It focuses on the solution of day-to- day problems at the local level.

~~ These are the notes from my Research Process class @ UoM ~~


Agricultural Planning And Development

It has been previously stated that in implementing rural development project in developing countries, a good starting point is to develop the agriculture in the area. In this section, we shall survey the pre-requisites for such a development and then study the factors of importance to be taken into consideration when agricultural development is initiated in an area, a region or in a country.

In developing countries, a large part of the total population still lives on the land and depends on it for their livelihood. In many developing countries, present estimates indicates that two-thirds of the national income and four-fifths of the exports come from agriculture and, traditionally, on little changed systems of crop and animal production. Under such conditions people generally are poor and average incomes barley exceed USD 100 per head per year. In the some of the developing countries, the average increase of the gross national product, over a specific period of time, was just over five percent per year, but between two-to-three percent of this national growth was used by the added population, thus making the rate of growth too slow and too small to have any political, social, economical impact on the population.

Generally speaking, in developing countries, agriculture is the main source of income, its supports the bulk of population, and is the largest potential market and has the greatest growth prospects. It can provide part of the capital for industrial development and can earn badly needed foreign exchange in order to develop other sector of the economy as well as health and social services. Agriculture also has to provide the raw material for other industries and use the manufactured goods of these industries. For example, if rural development is set so as to have industries. For example, if rural development is set so as to have industries and other non-agricultural development located in rural areas, then agriculture will cater for the needs for the rural community and thus it can be most effective. Such small scale rural and non-rural industries plus non-agricultural development will bring in such infrastructures as roads, bridges, electricity, water supply networks, irrigation systems, storage facilities, and established industries which produce or service essential agricultural inputs such as farm machinery and equipment, tools agrichemicals (insecticides, wee killers fungicides, etc), fertilizers, seeds, service and repair shops, etc. Moreover, rural inhabitants, peasants, small farmers small-holders and their  families can purchase agricultural products and manufactured outputs such as plastic goods, paper, textiles, shoes, clothing, food, drinks, tobacco, etc. In this way the market for local products is expanded and employment opportunities in rural areas are enhanced.

During the last four decades, due to rapidly growing populations and many other social and political factors, many developing countries have not been able to accumulate capital for agricultural and rural development rapidly enough.

To start with, traditional farmers of developing countries can accumulate and invest a modest capital if they are not restricted by high rents or interest rates, and are organized into sound and efficient cooperatives. However, in general, the amount of capital saved is small. So the capital for exports is obtained through taxation and marketing boards. Under such conditions a considerable amount of capital for development is obtained by using freely available local materials, self-help projects and party or totally available labor, if national, and local motivations are strong and local labor forces are seasonally under employed. China and Israel are two examples where major capital works have been constructed from freely given labor, and  rural people have volunteered to build roads, drains, bridges farm buildings, public baths, houses, village halls, community schools, etc.

In recent years, due to self sufficiency of developed countries which are the major buyers of raw agricultural materials, and the introduction of synthetic substitutes, the developing nations have been competing severally among themselves. Attempts to regulate this competition through community agreements have not been satisfactory. The result has been lower exchange earning in the face of cut-price competition by other developing nations offering the same commodities. This was the case with cotton export

It is possible for developing countries to improve agricultural production technology, decrease the cost per unit of production, increase export prices without diminishing profits, and making better use of foreign exchange, which at present, may frequently be spent on food and  other agricultural commodities, most of which could easily be produced locally. But many of the poorer developing countries have not been able to alleviate their trading situation by greater exports of agricultural products and thus have turned top the developed countries for investment and capital. In reality, although some of the developing countries may be politically independent, they have to look a board for a considerable part of their capital needs. In recent years there have been substantial foreign developing countries. Where the political situation has been unfavorable, both native private investment and foreign investment has declined. International provision of capital and aid to governments and their subsides have also dimensioned.

Assuming the major step in implementing rural development is to secure increased productivity of the agricultural sector of the national economy, we now proceed to examine how to plan agricultural development at the national level.

The process of decision making by governments for the agricultural development policies and implementation of such policies over a certain period of time is generally termed national planning for agricultural development. In preparing a plan of policies and action for agricultural development, whether in developed or developing countries, we must consider the following points.

  1. What are the present needs of agriculture in different regions of the country?
  2. What steps must be taken to meet these needs now and in the foreseeable future?
  3. What are the nature and amount if natural, physical, financial and manpower resources available to present, or they can be mobilized in the near future meet the requirements of agricultural development? Agricultural needs must be worked out and available for planning
  4. Identification definition of priorities and decision making  n such priorities in the agricultural development sector in order to use available resources efficiently
  5. The national plan for agricultural development must be flexible and continuous. This is to allow for changing priorities of agriculture, and changes in national policies and different  related sectors of the economy
  6. Technical knowledge and competence of those responsible for agricultural plans as well as general fields and industries is essential for sound planning, if the programs are to be effective and operative.

In planning for agricultural development at the national level for a developing country, the following points deserve especial attention

  1.  In a national planning program for agriculture, development or crop and animal production, marketing, local availability inputs, introduction of new technology, incentives to farm operators, and transportation should be given top priority. Unless these are present and working properly, other programs of agriculture will not show the expected and desired results
  2. parallel to development of the top priorities mentioned programs which encourage and accelerate agricultural development such as credit, education  of farm and rural people and improvement of agricultural land and other related fields should be planned and undertaken
  3. Agricultural planning at the national level can never be complete. In the same way as other partial governmental programs can be planned, because actual production of crops and other farm products cannot be planned in the same manner as for rural health or road building programs. In the final analysis, for greater productivity, many decision must be left to farmers, in the  light of the conditions prevailing the country or region at the time
  4. National agricultural plans must consist of separate regional agricultural plans. Actions taken to increase agricultural productivity vary enormously from one region to another in the same country. Regions with similar potential agricultural advancement will not have the same productivity under given conditions. Normally, the more advanced region will have a different priority, plan of development greater and faster increase in production, compared with less advanced regions.
  5. For the poorer rural people with low-fertility agricultural development must be made in order to prepare them for more advanced development plans. Here, implementation of farming systems research and extension training and service command special attention.
  6. Production of crops and animal products and also markets must be developed simultaneously. Farm products produced in a region and profitably sold, determine the agricultural potential of that region. Therefore, in planning for the national or regional development of agriculture, estimates of probable internal or foreign demand for selected farm products over the next few years should be made. Foods such as milk, mea, eggs, fruit and vegetables are consumed at a greatest rare than wheat, corn (Maize) and bean. Also the demand for these foods increases rapidly with industrial and urban development. Demand projections should be made for those farm products which give the greatest and fastest increase and return, if the necessary technology and facilities are available.
  7. Increased profitability of farming

At national or regional level, increasing the production particular farm crop or animal product over cast for the securing the maximum margin of returns over cast for the business of farming as a whole. Farmers use different types of crops, farm equipment, fertilizers, manures, insecticides etc, depending on which combination of inputs yields them the highest net return. Thus, in planning agriculture at national or regional levels, care should be taken not to use the total acreage under crops or the total number of livestock as the main criteria for judging success. It is the net return of an immense number of farm business and enterprises of different sizes and types which produce different products that contribute to the national agricultural economy. It is arriving at the correct combination of these various types by planning that makes each of these small farms profitable, and it is this experience of a good margin of profit that means that the planning at all levels has been successful.

  1. In planning for regional development of agriculture, it should be noted that certain types of investment take several years to become fully effective. Agricultural land expansion, water resource development, agricultural research, changing the attitudes of farmers to trust, respect and accept innovations, extension agents and service, all take time. Therefore, plans must  have continuity and be devised well in advance, for the  profitable and successful implementation of each sector on time
  2. Attention should also be given top the quality of production in many developing countries, large, schemes of rural education, credit  and health services are initiated without due attention to upgrading the skill and experience of those operating the schemes of working for them over the years. Therefore, allocations of funds to different sectors of agricultural development should be made wisely after careful review of the plans for each activity and the availability of relatively skilled manpower.
  3. Local coordination of the main activities essential to higher farm production, the availability of extension service, farm  supplies and equipment, as well as the local testing of some of these inputs  to convince farmers and gain their confidence, is quite important. Therefore, in preparing a national plan for agricultural development, coordination of these activities is not only necessary at national and regional levels, but also at the district, country and local levels, where farmers and rural people are involved.
  4. Experience wise judgment, reliable data and surveys in preparation for agricultural development should be used. Expenditure on in0service training for extension agents, their refresher courses, or establishment of a crop and animal research station will, indirectly, increase agricultural productivity over a period of several years. In planning to collect figures, census data, and statistics, it should be remembered that dependable and reliable answers to certain sections of the national agricultural plan can be given by correct data, but coordination of all parts of such a national plan requires quantitative judgment by experienced planners who possess a through understanding of agriculture and rural development activities in the area in a region or the country.
  5. Opinions expressed by farmers should be considered. Plans for agricultural development should be drawn up, based on adequate knowledge and information as to the needs of farmers, their problems and their preferences.
  6. Preparation of a joint plan for agriculture and industrial development. Generally, industrialization increases the number of wage earners and indirectly increases the demand for farm products, or, conversely, consumer goods produced by industry and made available in rural markets encourage farmers to produce more and sell more, in order to buy more consumer goods. Domestic industry aimed at producing farm equipment and supplies, lowers the cost of farm products produced. Therefore, any plans for agricultural development should also involve industrialization and should be related to it. In some countries, national agricultural plans complement or supplement rural development plans and rural small industries.
  7. In national plans, all that has been accomplished up to date should be included. Before, planning a new program, allocating finances, budgets, and physical and human resources careful assessment of what  has already been accomplished must be made.
  8. National plans for agricultural productivity should be continuous and reviewed as deemed necessary. The program of agricultural development may change from time to time in different developing countries and in different regions of the same country, to ensure a high level of productivity. Other governmental policies related to and affecting agriculture should also be reviewed continuously. Therefore, no policy should be regarded as permanent. For example, land reform policy introduced into a country to break up large estates and changes in agricultural technology and increasing rural employment opportunities. As a result, national agricultural plans should be made sufficiently flexible and continuous to accommodate such an important reform and he profound political and social changes that can be involved.

 Mosser (177,178) considers a series of eleven steps or principles that are most necessary for agricultural development in a region or country where already a moderately thriving agriculture is underway. Under such conditions, the considers a production. Some of the principles he proposes have already been mentioned, but they are indicated here for the sake f completeness.

  1. Modern agriculture cannot be commodity specific. As an agricultural economy changes for the better, the range of crops with time. People consume more of some foods as they earn more. Such as vegetables, fruit, milk, meat and eggs, and less of others, such as potatoes, wheat and rice. Thus the cropping pattern of a region changes s that the farm product can remain profitable. The establishment of agricultural support services such as the provision of fertilizers, insecticides, machinery service and repairs, etc, will aid patterns of land development that can be used flexibly to produce crops and animal products most profitable at different periods in the future.
  2. Careful planning from the present set up. To bring about higher agricultural productivity, a number of different facilities and services must be established in a large number of places in a yearly basis with a reasonable period of time. To plan for future development of agriculture, a careful inventory of present farming practices and agri-support activities must be available.
  3. It is important to recognize and give active support for food production in farming areas. Services to support agricultural production must be easily accessible to farmers. Those most immediately needed in farm production include sources of farm suppliers and equipment, markets for farm productions, local verification trials, sources of credit and extension services and good feeder roads to the highways connecting larger centers of consumption.
  4. Farming districts are the basic units for expanding and developing a progressive rural structure for greater agricultural productivity. District units made up of several farming localities are needed for efficient services, etc. The farming district is the smallest unit of the total rural complex of public and private agri-support services on which modern and growing agricultural production depends.
  5. Local verification trials. A favorable crop or livestock response in one location does not mean equal profitability of the same practice in each farm locality. Thus, before a new set f practices is recommended to farmers, local verification trials are needed to establish the merit of each practice. Later modifications to the trials will be needed to make them even more profitable in the local conditions.
  6. Development of rural structure for different growth potential regions. A minimum skeleton network of road is needed to give support to provision of agri-support services, social and community services, and wherever there is a possibility of increasing agricultural production, for example, areas designated as having areas will be the only areas where commodity oriented projects will be successful. Therefore, they deserve the highest priority for the creation of a progressive rural structure with sufficient number of fully equipped farming districts and localities to serve all farms.
  7. Agricultural growth and rural welfare are interdependent. Generally speaking, increasing rural welfare companies agricultural growth. The agricultural growth and the non-economic aspects of rural welfare are mutually interdependent and each has a role to play serving the broader goals of national integration, economic justice and social well-being.
  8. Commodity oriented projects increase production of specific farm products and serve in securing coordinated co-operation among various agri-support facilities and services. It is the support activities that can accomplish the success of the commodity oriented projects in areas with immediate agricultural growth potential, where economic production increases can be secured in a relatively short period of time.
  9. Intensity of rural programs should fit regional potential for agricultural growth. Different regions of developing countries have the following agricultural potentials for growth.
    1. farms and lands  where there is immediate growth potential  for agriculture
    2. Lands  of low  agricultural growth potential, but which are frequently used for  crop production
    3. Non-agricultural rural  lands such as deserts, mountains and other lands out suitable for cultivation

Each type of growth potential, according to Mosher (177,178) requires a rural welfare program and especial agricultural growth programs to suit the potential fertility and production capability of each area

  1. Initiatives in planning should be encouraged with respect to progressive rural structure. Local initiative provides first- hand knowledge of local conditions, leads to greater participation by rural people, while national planning for agriculture growth may provide the complementary elements of a progressive rural structure. All contribute to increased and enhanced agricultural development.
  2. Establishment f a set of procedural steps to give effect to these general principles. In creating a progressive rural structure, it must be decided what is to be done, in what order, in which place, over what period of time and how much it is going to cost. A procedural step in a progressive rural structure varies for each place and depends on sound information for the area already having been obtained. Generally speaking, in developing countries, agriculture is the main source of income, its supports the bulk of population, and is the largest potential market and has the greatest growth prospects.

During the last four decades, due to rapidly growing populations and many other social and political factors, many developing countries have not been able to accumulate capital for agricultural and rural development rapidly enough.

China and Israel are two examples where major capital works have been constructed from freely given labor, and  rural people have volunteered to build roads, drains, bridges farm buildings, public baths, houses, village halls, community schools, etc.

The national plan for agricultural development must be flexible and continuous. This is to allow for changing priorities of agriculture, and changes in national policies and different related sectors of the economy.

Agricultural land expansion, water resource development, agricultural research, changing the attitudes of farmers to trust, respect and accept innovations, extension agents and service, all take time. Therefore, plans must have continuity and be devised well in advance, for the profitable and successful implementation of each sector on time.

Experience wise judgment, reliable data and surveys in preparation for agricultural development should be used. Expenditure on in0service training for extension agents, their refresher courses, or establishment of a crop and animal research station will, indirectly, increase agricultural productivity over a period of several years.

Generally, industrialization increases the number of wage earners and indirectly increases the demand for farm products, or, conversely, consumer goods produced by industry and made available in rural markets encourage farmers to produce more and sell more, in order to buy more consumer goods.

To bring about higher agricultural productivity, a number of different facilities and services must be established in a large number of places in a yearly basis with a reasonable period of time. To plan for future development of agriculture, a careful inventory of present farming practices and agri-support activities must be available.

Local initiative provides first- hand knowledge of local conditions, leads to greater participation by rural people, while national planning for agriculture growth may provide the complementary elements of a progressive rural structure. All contribute to increased and enhanced agricultural development.

~~ These are the notes from my Rural Development class @ UoM ~~