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Horticultural Research I

Course CodeBHT118
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn How to Carry Out Research

Whether for your own personal interest, for professional development, or because you have a genuine desire to work in research and development, this course has something to offer you. 

Learn the basics about how to go about conducting research - different research methods, research design, conducting field trials, surveys, qualitative and quantitative statistics, and writing research reports.  

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.

This course has been developed by professionals in both Australia and the UK, with the aim of being relevant throughout the world.

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Determining Research Needs
    • Overview
    • Identifying research needs
    • The research goal
    • The research question
    • Other questions to clarify the research goal
    • Sources of information
    • What information is required
    • Depth and bredth of data
    • Setting realistic research parameters
    • Constraining factors
  2. Searching for Information
    • Kinds of exploratory research
    • Primary data research
    • Secondary data research
    • Literature reviews
  3. Research Methods
    • Key research terms
    • Experimentation
    • A controlled environment
    • Field trials
    • Steps in collection and analysis of data
    • Conducting a crop trial
    • Setting up a Comparison trial
    • Running a trial: records and recording
    • Evaluating the trial
    • Interviewing skills: procedure, asking questions, types of questions
    • Ways of handling difficult questions
  4. Using Statistics
    • Overview: Descriptive statistics, Inferential statistics
    • Official statistics
    • Reasons for using statistics
    • Advantages of statistics
    • Statistics: as guides and motivators
    • Disadvantages of statistics
    • Issues to consider
    • Descriptive statistics
    • Observed and expected rates
    • Confidence intervals
    • Standardizing
    • Reliability of statistics
    • Presenting statisticsa: pie charts, bar charts, histograms
    • Descriptive statistics: mean, median, mode, variation, variance, standard deviation, correlation, probability, etc
  5. Conducting Statistical Research
    • Collecting quantitative data
    • Conducting a survey
    • Form of data
    • Planning a formal survey
    • Designing a questionnaire
    • Common problems
  6. Research Reports
    • Report writing tips
    • Structure of a report
    • The report online
    • Research papers
    • Referencing
  7. Reporting on a Research Project
    • This lesson brings together what you have learned in previous lessons, in terms of critical assessment of other authors research papers or reports, and demonstrating your report writing skills.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Conduct preliminary investigations to determine areas where there is a valid need for research in social, technological and environmental issues that impact on horticulture today
  • Conduct an information search into a defined issue related to social, technological and environmental issues that impact on Horticulture today.
  • Explain research methods, including experimental techniques, commonly used.
  • Demonstrate and explain the basic statistical methods used for research.
  • Conduct a minor statistical research project into a well defined area, relevant to your area of study.
  • Prepare a research report in a format which conforms to normal industry procedures.
  • Demonstrate critical analytical thinking, reviewing skills and report writing skills

What can good research skills do for you?

Good research skills will enable you identify emerging trends and changes that affect horticulture, and to help formulate better strategies, practices and uses for horticulture. Your ability to conduct and present research can lead to innovations that address crucial local and global issues, or to the provision of cutting-edge horticultural services.This course will develop your ability to research and present a critical, written and numerical assessment of information related to social, technological, environmental and economic issues that impact on Horticulture today. 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.

 

 

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 is the fundamental level of research, and its aim is to gather information on a topic, which is later to be presented to an intended audience (a class, teacher etc). Examples are research on a particular country, animal, or political system.

Another level of research aims at answering a research question (often called the thesis question). The information that is gathered and presented is chosen in order to answer that question. Examples of research questions are:

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.