OII SDP 2007 (XXIV): Network or Divide: Building Community Knowledge Infrastructure through E-Agriculture

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #46, July 2007


Student research seminar: Benjamin Addom

This is a proposal for a theory-driven Evaluation Research using Fourth Generation Evaluation Framework (FGE). The history of agricultural development reveals that agricultural technologies over the years have been bought, borrowed, or stolen and therefore should not necessarily be domestic. The model of diffusion of innovation especially has been applied in the transfer of these technologies to developing countries. TEEAL and AGORA are two initiatives that are transferring scientific knowledge from the North to the South. The proposed research tries to explore or assess or evaluate the merit of the initiative to the primary users (researchers, students and policy makers) and its worth to the secondary users (farmers) in Ghana. The concept of global and local knowledge, theory of absorptive capacity of “community”, community ties theory, and the technique of social network analysis are being proposed.

Main aspects

  • Inefficient mechanisms for informatino/knowledge “transfer” (exchange)
  • Inadequate investment in research internally
  • Use of outdated technologies

Arnold and Bell (2001) argue that the exponential growth of ICTs has transformed the ability to take advantage of knowledge developed in other places of for other purposes.
WSIS Action Plan, Line C-7, item 21 on e-Agriculture.
Faculty and researchers only had access to print copies of serials that were years, if not decades, out of date (Wallace & Jan Olsen, 1980).
Research background: Cornell University TEEAL Project.
Research background: FAO AGORA Project

The study will evaluate

  • Link between TEEL/AGORA and researchers/students
  • Link between researchers/students and the farmers
  • What content do Researchers/Students “transfer”
  • How does the social structure of the communities facilitate or retard use of the knowledge?
  • With what effects?

Theoretical Framework

  • Concept for knowledge sharing – GDN or WB, Szulanski (2003)
  • Absorptive Capacity of Communities – Cohen and Levinthal 1990 Xahra and George (2002)
  • Theory of Community Ties – Warren (1978)
  • Social Network Theory – Perkins et al. (2002)

My reflections

  • I guess I’d add some experiences from the Open Access world, specially when dealing about the diffusion of knowledge in open environments and how to measure it

More info

SDP 2007 related posts (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “OII SDP 2007 (XXIV): Network or Divide: Building Community Knowledge Infrastructure through E-Agriculture” In ICTlogy, #46, July 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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