Horticulture And Research II

Learn to identify research issues and determine research priorities in horticulture, get technical information, plan, design and conduct research through distance education studies..

Course CodeBHT241
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Research Skills are in Demand

Research was once something done by scientists and academics; but that is no longer the case.

  • Managers, businessmen; technicians, and any other professional who works in modern horticulture,  need research skills.
  • Research skills are not only used to make unknown discoveries; but they are also needed to find the latest, most accurate and relevant information for any new project you are confronted with
  • The ability to research is today, critical for your career sustainability.

Acquire and demonstrate research skills, with critical written and numerical assessment of information related to the social, technological, environmental and economic issues that impact on Horticulture today.


Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Identifying Research Issues and Determining Research Priorities
    • Introduction: first, second, third steps
    • Finding research ideas
    • Brainstorming
    • Steps to brainstorming
    • Mind maps
    • How to mind map
    • Concept mapping
    • Determining research priorities
    • Beginning your research
    • Formulating a research topic
    • Is the reseach feasible
    • Formulating a hgypothesis
    • Terminology
  2. Acquisition of Technical Information
    • Literature review
    • Research methods
    • Basic methods of collecting information: experimental, correlation, questionnaires, surveys, tests, document review
    • Naturalistic observation
    • Focus groups
    • Case studies
  3. Specialised Research Techniques
    • Selecting a research method
    • Fishbone diagrams
    • Applications for cause and effect diagrams
    • Lateral thinking
    • Lateral thinking techniques
    • Pareto analysis
    • Observations
    • Root cause analysis
  4. Research Planning and Designing
    • Project planning
    • Defining the problem, possible solutions and objectives
    • Problem tree analysis tool
    • SWOT analysis
    • Prioritise objectives and define activities
    • Allocate resources
    • Results and assessment
  5. Statistics
    • Introduction
    • Data presentation
    • Measures of central tendancy
    • Distributions
  6. Conducting Research
    • Collecting and logging data
    • Developing a data base structure
    • Data transformations
    • Analyzing data
    • Managing data
    • Analytical procedure
  7. Writing Reports
    • Reporting results
    • Report structure
    • Contents of a research report (example)
    • Pitfalls to avoid

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Determine areas where there is a valid need to research processes relevant to horticultural research in today‚Äôs social, economic, political and environmental context.
  • Acquire and demonstrate skills in locating and reviewing scientific and technical information.
  • Develop and explain alternative research and observational techniques for a particular Horticultural research study.
  • To design a quality and focused research project addressing a social, technological, environmental and/or economic issues that impact on Horticulture today.
  • Determine and allocate resources needed (time, financial and human resources) for research.
  • Demonstrate and explain basic statistical knowledge used for research with emphasis on your ability to present and monitor given data.
  • Conduct a quality and focused research project addressing a social, technological, environmental and/or economic issue that impact on Horticulture today.
  • Demonstrate skills in report writing.

Learn to Plan and Conduct Research Projects in Horticulture

There are a huge number of research techniques available to a researcher.  Determining which methods are best suited for the task is critical. Methods will differ depending on what discipline or field you are in. Social research is done often, but not always, with interviews and questionnaires, while scientific research is done mainly with laboratory and field experiments.   

If, for instance, you were trying to determine the eating patterns of men between the ages of 15 and 35, it you may decide to perform a market survey by phone, mail or email.  Alternatively, you may decide to question men in a number of different locations such as shopping centres, cinema complexes or recreational parks.

In questionnaires, interviews and surveys you will need to research the content of your questions thoroughly to ensure that the questions are clear and concise. You must determine what sort of response you need. Some answers request a rating (e.g. out of 10), others on a scale from poor to excellent, and others still on a scale of never to always. There are many other formats.

Remember, terminology that you may have become familiar with in the course of your studies can be like a foreign language to the next person. Keep in mind that the recipient of the survey is doing you a favour. They don’t want to be kept for half an hour on the phone during dinner time or while viewing a sporting match, nor do they want to try and figure out complex questions. 

Phone surveys have the advantage of being spontaneous and researchers have the opportunity to fine-tune their questions as they progress. Once you have sent out a survey by mail or email the opportunity to monitor as you go is no longer an option. Also, mail surveys require the recipient to post the response back. Statistics have shown that a significantly smaller percentage of people respond to mail surveys than other method of collecting information. One advantage, however, is that surveys conducted by mail and email are a lot less intrusive than those conducted by phone or in person. They allow a person to undertake the survey in their own time and at their own pace.

Developing and using appropriate research techniques to gain the required data requires a lot of planning and preparation. Sometimes trials (or pilots) are required to test-drive a method. Once tested, they can be modified or enhanced to further elicit the information required. 

It is important at this stage to get it right.



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Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
Marie Beermann

Marie has more than 10 years experience in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M. Sc. Hort., Dip. Bus., Cert. Ldscp.
Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc.,
Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has