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III. Methodology

III. Methodology

1. Population of the study

The present study was carried out in four selected countries namely: Thailand, Trinidad, Nigeria and Syria (see Figure 1). Selection of these countries was based on the assumption that their agricultural extension systems provided more relatively satisfactory extension services to male farmers than those provided to women farmers.

2. Sampling procedure of the study

A multi-stage purposive-cum-stratified random sampling design was followed for selection of the study areas.

2.1. Selection of study areas

The study was confined to representative state(s) suggested by the research committee of each selected study country (see Figures 2 to 5). A separate list of number of districts/zones and number of villages from each selected extension area was collected from the study states for the selection of study areas for the study. Thus, two districts/zones which were sufficiently close to the study states to enable a series of visits to selected villages by the researcher over a limited period of time were chosen. From each district/zone, four extension areas and from each extension area eight villages were selected by using simple a random sampling technique (see Annexe 1).

2.2. Selection of respondents

From each village, 10% of women farmers were selected randomly from the lists provided by the extension service. Thus the total number of farm women selected from each state was eighty (80).

In addition to the above, field extension agents, technical officers/subject-matter specialists (SMS), administrators, supervisors, policymakers and planners were selected irrespective of gender. The main criterion for choice of these respondents was their knowledge of the operation of the agricultural extension service in their country.

FIG. 1. Map showing general location of study countries (*).

FIG. 2. Map of Thailand showing present study area (shaded).

FIG. 3. Map of Trinidad showing present study area (shaded).

FIG. 4. Map of Nigeria showing present study areas (shaded).

FIG. 5. Map of Syria showing present study areas (*).

Thus the total number of respondents interviewed in each study country is shown below in Table 1.

Table 1. Kind and number of respondents interviewed in the study areas in the four countries selected


Women farmer

Extension agents

Technical officer/SMS

Administrators supervisors, policymakers, planners

Total no. of respondent































2.3. Limitations of the study

3. Operational definition of variables studied

3.1 Dependent variables

3.1.1 Effectiveness of agricultural extension activities

Claar and Bentz (1984) stated that: "Effective extension work requires management and operational procedures that reinforce the organizational structure. These must contribute to a favourable work environment, and result in systematic and expeditious handling of the many administrative tasks of the organization. Inadequacies in any of these areas can seriously impair the performance of an extension service".

Mott (1972) defined 'effectiveness' as the ability of the organization to be mobilized to meet the demands in the areas of production, adaptability and flexibility.

According to Etzioni (1976), the actual effectiveness of a specific organization is determined by the degree to which it realises its goals.

In the light of the above definitions, the researcher in this study conceptualized the meaning of effectiveness as the ability of agricultural extension services to mobilize their capacity to meet the demands of the women farmers in the area of agricultural production.

An index was framed and used as a basis for the measurement of the strengths and weaknesses of agricultural extension services to meet these expressed needs of the women farmers. Thus, 26 items were listed as possible components of an effectiveness index intended to serve women farmers, based on the review of literature and discussions with experts in the field of agricultural extension services. The knowledgeable persons in the field of extension were used as judges. Thus, the total number of judges were 30. Each of the judges was asked to rate the importance of each item by using a five point scale: (i) most important; (ii) important; (iii) fairly important; (iv) less important; and (v) not at all important. After analyzing the responses of the 30 judges, the researcher selected as index items those rated "most important" by the majority of the judges. Thus, 11 items were finally selected and included in the effectiveness scale. These were as follows:

Furthermore, the researcher listed possible sub-items under each selected component to find out the level of capacity of the extension services to serve women farmers thoroughly in the four study countries.

The analysis of the data of various components of the effectiveness index of each study country was restricted to a descriptive and quantitative analysis because of limited sources of data.

3.1.2 Relevance of agricultural extension activities

The "relevance of agricultural extension activities" is defined as the relation between existing formulated agricultural extension topics in the extension service and women farmers' expressed problems in farm work and need areas for agricultural advice. In the present study, the relevance of agricultural extension activities was operationally understood as those activities that attracted and fulfilled the needs of women farmers as evidenced by their participation in those activities.

3.2 Independent variables

The major criterion for the selection of independent variables was evidence from past research, as well as from published literature related to the study countries.

3.2.1 Age of women farmers

Age of women farmers was operationally defined as the chronological age of the women respondents.

3.2.2 Household head

In the present study, household head referred to the member of the household who actually controlled the productive resources of the family such as land, inputs, etc., and provided the main economic support of the family. These persons were classified into three groups: women, men (husbands) and other family members.

3.2.3 Total number of children

This referred to the total number of children of the women farmers included in the study.

3.2.4 Education

Education referred to the level of formal education the women farmers of the study had reached. It was measured with a few modifications by the scale developed by Trivedi (1963). These were categorized into four groups: illiterate, informal education, primary level (primary completed/not completed) and secondary level (secondary completed/not completed).

3.2.5 Size of land holding

This referred to the number of acres of cultivated land possessed by the women farmers or their families. Rented or leased out area was also included in this concept.

3.2.6 Social participation in farmer organizations

Social participation in this study referred to the membership of women farmers in various formal organizations (for both men and women), either as a member or as an office bearer.

3.2.7 Socio-economic status

This referred to the position of the women farmers in society and was determined by various social and economic variables such as land, education, type of housing, occupation of head of the family, material possession, type and size of the family and the extent of social participation (Trivedi, 1963).

3.2.8 Women farmers' involvement in farm and reproductive activities

This referred to the actual role performed by women farmers in the eighteen and five major farm and reproductive activities respectively.

3.2.9 Decision-making pattern of women farmers in farm and reproductive activities

This referred to the pattern of women farmers' participation in making decisions in fifteen important farm matters including reproductive activities. Through the structured questionnaire, the decision-making pattern of women farmers was put into four categories, i.e. husband only, wife only, both (wife and husband), and family members (father, brother and children).

3.2.10 Women farmers' need for agricultural advice

The term "need" is usually defined as the gap between the current existing knowledge and the desired knowledge. "Need" in the present study was operationally defined as the gap between what a woman farmer perceived she already knew and what she wanted to know more about in respect of farm practices. The need of women farmers was measured with the help of a structured questionnaire consisting of fourteen selected agricultural topics: cultivation techniques; soil fertility; selection of good variety of seeds; selection and use of fertilizers; pest control; weed control; crop production/mixed cropping; harvesting techniques; storage of produced crop; care of livestock; care of poultry; marketing; credit advice and food processing.

3.2.11 Attitude of extension personnel

According to Thurstone (1946), attitude is "the degree of positive or negative affect associated with psychological objects like symbol, phrase, slogan, person, institution, ideal or ideas towards which people can differ in varying degrees".

The researcher operationally defined attitude in this study as the degree of positive or negative opinion of extension personnel towards women farmers as extension clientele.

4. Instruments for data collection

Four interview-cum-structured questionnaires were designed and used to collect information and data for this study. The first instrument was designed for women farmers as clientele of the agricultural extension system; the second instrument was designed for administrators of extension organizations in each of the countries selected and concerned the current capacity of the agricultural extension service to provide advisory services to women farmers; the third instrument was for field extension agents to judge their attitude towards women farmers as clientele of extension services, identification of type of agricultural extension topic and number of extension activities planned and implemented to deliver extension messages to women farmers, and type of training courses attended by them. It also covered the extension worker's perception of women's participation in extension activities and the identification of problems and constraints of the extension service in reaching women farmers. The fourth instrument was designed to enable extension policymakers, planner, administrators, supervisors and technical officers or subject matter-specialists to judge their attitude towards women farmers as clientele of extension services, and to identify the problems and constraints that they perceived could affect agricultural extension in reaching women farmers.

5. Pre-testing of the instruments

The questionnaire prepared for interviewing women farmers was tested in the nearest village of the extension institution of each study country to which the writer was assigned for the research work. Thirty women farmers were selected for pre-testing in each study area. Necessary modifications were made before proceeding to the field survey.

6. Procedures of data collection

Prior to data collection in each study country, two female interpreters were selected together with X research helpers. They were trained to facilitate the collection of data from the women farmers and the extension personnel within the period planned.

The data were collected in four phases.

In the first phase, women farmers were interviewed, either in groups or individually, using the structured questionnaire.

In the second phase, field extension agents were interviewed in groups or individually in the district offices of selected study areas following the structured questionnaire.

In the third phase, data and/or information on how the agricultural extension systems actually influenced the operation of extension work for satisfying the problems and needs of women farmers were collected after reviewing the annual reports and discussions with the related extension administrators of the four study areas/countries.

In the fourth phase, information about problems perceived by the policymakers, planners, administrators, supervisors and technical officers or subject-matter-specialists as affecting agricultural extension services' ability to reach women farmers was collected.

7. Analysis of data

Data from questionnaires were coded. A wide variety of data was summarized and categorized in different ways for ease of presentation and comprehension.

The data pertaining to age, total number of children, size of landholding, socio-economic status, and attitude of extension personnel towards women farmer as clientele of extension were categorized as follows for interpretation in the present study:

(i) age of the women farmers: data collected pertaining to age revealed that this ranged between 15 and 60. For analysis, the women farmers were categorized into the following three groups:


Score range (Years)


15 - 30


30 - 45


45 - 60

(ii) total number of children: the information collected was categorized into the following three groups:




1- 3


4- 6


above 6

(iii) Size of land holding: the data on land holding were first converted into standard acres based on a conversion formula provided by each government land reform act. Then the socio-economic status scale developed by Trivedi (1963) was used to categorize the size of land- holding as follows:

Size of land

Less than 3 acres

3 to 5 acres

Above 5 acres

(iii) socio-economic status (SES): to measure the socio-economic status of women farmers the scale developed by Trivedi (1963) was used with a few modifications to suit the rural situation of the countries selected (see Annexe-2). The total computed scores achieved by each woman farmer was categorized as shown below:

Category (SES)

Score Range


8 - 16


17- 25


26- 35

(iv) attitude of extension personnel: the tool for measurement of the attitude of extension personnel consisted of 10 statements (5 positive and 5 negative) and the responses were recorded on a five-point scale. The scoring procedure for positive statements was as follows:



Strongly Agree








Strongly Disagree


For negative statements, the scoring procedure was reversed. The scores obtained were categorized into the following three groups:


Score range

Highly favourable

38 - 50


24- 37

Less favourable

10 - 34

Moreover the need, i.e. the difference between existing and desired knowledge, was measured for each item or activity. To assess the existing knowledge, respondents were asked to say whether they 'knew thoroughly', 'knew somewhat', or 'did not know at all'. For desired knowledge, they were asked to mention whether the knowledge was 'most needed', 'somewhat needed', or 'not needed'. These were scored as 2, 1, and 0 respectively (Kaur and Srivastava, 1988).

A further comparison was made of the various variables between the four study areas such as demographic, socio-economic conditions of women farmers, involvement of women farmers in farm and reproductive activities, their participation in making decisions on farm activities, their access to production resources, their gender preferences for extension agents, total female extension personnel, the budget allocation of the extension service and suggestions of extension personnel to improve the extension services.

The problems of women farmers in farm work, their preferential topics to be learned on agricultural extension, their problems in attending extension activities and problems and constraints in affecting extension services to women framers perceived by extension agents and extension personnel were ranked according to number of respondents.

The mean was used to analyze the number of extension activities completed by each extension agent in relation to women farmers, number of training courses attended by field extension agents in the four study areas and women farmers' participation in extension activities as perceived by field extension agents.

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