Information and Communication Technology Use Capacity Within Extension Networks: Development and Preliminary Validation of an Empirical Scale
Kevan W. Lamm
Alexa J. Lamm
University of Georgia
International Food Policy Research Institute
Catherine E. Sanders
University of Georgia
Advancing information and communication technologies (ICTs) has become central to international agricultural and extension development efforts. ICTs are crucial in facilitating information transfer, ensuring stakeholder access to information, and increasing the decision-making capacity of smallholder farmers. The research presented here introduces an instrument developed to quantify perceptions of ICT use capacity within international extension networks. The aggregate scale was verified for content validity, response process validity, internal structure validity, and consequential validity informing its use. The instrument was administered to network members (n = 122) associated with the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted with measures of correlation and reliability analysed. Six factors were extracted and analysed further. The resulting Perceptions of ICT Use scale and factors can be used as reliable instruments for quantifying perceptions of ICT use capacity, enhancing international extension network needs assessments, and informing policies and practices which maximize ICT capacity.
Keywords: information communication technology (ICT); scale development; rural advisory services; international extension; capacity assessment
Acknowledgement: The research being reported in this publication was financially supported by the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS). Two of the authors of this publication served as consultants to GFRAS, and a third author was employed by GFRAS at the time the data were collected. Furthermore, this work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The opinions expressed here belong to the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of PIM or CGIAR. We have disclosed these interests fully to the Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, and have in place an approved plan for managing any potential conflicts arising from this arrangement.