10.5191/jiaee.2003.10205

 

 

Abstract

This paper has two purposes: 1) to describe and explain Q methodology and 2) to describe the evaluation of a dairy herd genetic registry project in Uruguay. The evaluation used Q methodology to focus on the social, economic, and contextual reasons why some producers in Uruguay had not participated in the registry. Centroid factor analysis with theoretical rotation reduced the 27 Q sorts into four distinct perspectives explaining lack of participation in the project. “Technicians” (cited lack of technical assistance available to some producers and sought a solution that focused on delivering the project through better trained technical advisors); “Activists” (cited structural issues as the barrier to participation with improved industry-wide efficiency as the solution); “Independents” (resonated with strong tones of personal and political reasons for the lack of participation); and “Economists” (reflective of the poor economic conditions facing many producers in Uruguay, namely depressed milk prices. However, despite the stark differences, the four perspectives also converged on a possible solution that recommended delivering the project through small, local, established organizations. Practical implications were 1) identifying and understanding why dairy producers abstained from participating was more complex than a simple explanation of a gap in knowledge about the program and 2) Q methodology functioned well in an agriculturally related evaluation context where tapping diverse and sometimes ignored perspectives is critical for program improvement.

 

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