Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Research Is to Practioners as Logic Is to Detectives

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Research Is to Practioners as Logic Is to Detectives

Article excerpt

It seems that television is overrun with detective shows. There are three versions of CSI alone. Because of shows like CSI, there has been a dramatic increase in students wanting to pursue careers in forensic science. Even in agricultural and extension education, we have played on this theme in developing 4-H camping and FFA activities. It is sort of fun to play detective.

On television, the forensic scientist and detectives have an array of high tech scientific tools at their disposal. They have special lights that can see blood stains. They have specialized software for retrieving information from PDAs, cell phones and computers. You can even buy a 14 item CSI tool kit off the Internet. However, one of the most useful tools to a detective is logic. According to the Free Dictionary, logic is a "system of reasoning."

Detectives have to use logic in their job. Could the suspect have left the party, driven 15 miles, committed the murder, and then returned to the party in 30 minutes? Was the victim murdered where the body was found, or was the body dumped there? What was the motive for this crime? The skillful application of reasoning (logic) is a useful and powerful tool for the detective. Do teachers of agriculture have a similar tool?

Research can be a useful and powerful tool for the teacher of agriculture, just like logic is to the detective. Teachers often have questions that need answers. What are the advantages and disadvantages of block scheduling? What can I do to help students read better? What can be done to get my students to keep notes? How do successful teachers train their CDE teams? Is cooperative learning really as good as people say? Do other teachers experience the same type of discipline problems I am having? Research can provide the answers to these questions.

There are two approaches that a practitioner can take in seeking the answer to questions like those posed in the previous paragraph. One approach is to go to the research journals and read what other researchers have found in regards to these types of question. In this issue, Jay Jayratne and Nancy Gruden-Schuck give suggestions on how the practitioner can be an effective consumer of research. …

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