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Number of New Practices Being Tested

The capacity to experiment metric focuses on the number of technological practices or components that a farmer is able to test. The data collection may be done via survey or focus group discussions. In a survey, farmers are asked about the management practices that he/she applies on the field. This should include the technologies that the researcher would like to assess. For example, if the technology is assessing Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM), all the components of ISFM used by the farmer should be counted, including for example, improved germplasm, chemical fertilizer, organic fertilizer use and management, and adaptation to local conditions (e.g., erosion control, use of lime on acidic soils) (Vanlauwe et al., 2012).

How to operationalize the metric

Method of data collection and data needed to compute the method:

To assess this measure, farmers are asked during survey or focus group to indicate what aspects of a technology or intervention they are currently using. A list may be provided for them to choose the relevant modalities. For example, in the ISFM situation, a farmer would indicate which or what parts of the three choices are used. In case technology packages, a similar approach should be taken.

Unit of analysis:

The unit of analysis is a count of the number of practices that are implemented by the farmer.  The maximum number of practices is the total number of practices that the farmers is exposed to during the interventions period (3 in ISFM example).

Limitations regarding estimating and interpreting:

This indicator is a simple and straight forward way to assess capacity to experiment, but it may not answer the “why” questions. Therefore, researchers may complement this indicator with other indicators within the framework.

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