Comparative Research Methods and Government Structures
By John Devlin
Tuesday started with an extended session on research methods for comparative analysis. The session was structured in small groups with a wide range of faculty. Students chose which faculty they would like to speak to and could move from
one to another over the morning.
We had tried this approach in Alaska last year and it was well received. This morning we had faculty discussing:
Comparative Survey Research (Rebecca Warner & Brent Steel (OSU))
Summary Mapping for Literature Reviews (Ntam Baharanyi (TU))
Ethnoscience (Robert Zabawa (TU))
Quasi-experimental design (Judith Stallmann (MU))
Indicators of rural vitality (Bruno Jean (UQAR))
Agroenvironmental indicators (James Breen (UCD)
Participatory action research (Ryan Gibson (UoG)
Comparative case studies (Bill Ashton (BU))
Comparative Historical Policy Analysis (John Devlin (UoG))
The “open buffet” style allowed for exchanges in small groups and one on one conversations. The approach was well received and is highly recommended for future years.
The rest of the morning before lunch was dedicated to discussion of comparative government systems, levels of government and the distribution and responsibilities for rural policy. Judy Stallmann (MU) led the session in which students worked in country groups to identify the levels of government and rural policy in their country. The group work was followed by quick presentations by each group which highlighted the surprising variety of government structures across the countries represented.
The final presentation was of the Catalan and Spanish case led by Yancy Vaillant (UAB) which prepard us all for the sessions after lunch.
The afternoon was devoted to a deeper introduction to rural Catalonia. We heard from Eduard Trepat and Marc Costa from the Fundació del Mon Rural (Rural Foundation of Catalonia) who provided us with an overview of Catalan agriculture.
We heard from Roser Maneja from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (UAB) who presented on rurality and natural environment in Catalonia. Then Marc Riera also from Fundació del Mon Rural (Rural Foundation of Catalonia) discussed the work of the Fundació and asked the audience to identify other similar groups working in other countries.
The day ended with a formal welcome from Lourdes Viladomiu (UAB) who is leading the ICRPS 2017 organizing team. Lourdes provided a short overview of the history of ICRPS and introduced Diego Prior the Dean of the Facultat d’Economia i Empresa and Meritxell Serret the Catalan Minister of Agriculture. The Dean in turn welcomed all ICRPS participants. Then Minister Serret provided an overview of issues in Catalan agriculture and took some questions from the audience.
After a group picture we convened for a glass of cava. Then off to dinner at the CAU de la Vila with thoughts of the early departure for tomorrow’s field trip far from our minds.