All posts by Regoniel, Patrick A.

Dr. Patrick A. Regoniel is a graduate school professor of research, statistics, and environmental science at the Palawan State University. He has helped many graduate students complete their theses or dissertations by providing research and statistical advice and services since 1991. A Ph.D. in Environmental Science graduate of the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 2004, Dr. Regoniel is a member of the Gamma Delta Sigma Honor Society of Agriculture. He currently serves as Vice President for Research & Extension at the Palawan State University.

SCIENCE BLOGS: a way to disseminate scientific information

What is scientific information unless read and understood by a higher number of people and applied to their lives? This article describes the power of science blogs as an offshoot of the internet, disruptive technology that changed people’s lives since its introduction in 1990.

Open Science Blog on Research Findings

Open science blogs are potent media that can aid scientists in disseminating their findings. With a little but working knowledge of content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, one can readily upload his or her thoughts, opinions, perspectives, or even data for discussion on a particular topic of interest.

Using blogs, a knowledgeable science writer can translate scientific findings into a form that a layperson can understand. Evidence-based perspectives influence how people think and act. Discoveries present interesting information that people can use for their specific purposes.

Consequently, more author exposure is possible with the ease by which one can self-publish articles worthy in a science blog as references. Putnam (2011) noted that science blogs promote quick dissemination of research, increases cooperation, and potentially makes the author’s research stronger.

Blogs offer opportunities to disseminate scientific information fast. There is no need to wait in the long queue of traditional scientific publishing, even the open access ones. Thus, the cost of publication is small, but the gains in learning something new or groundbreaking is high.

A caricature on blogs.

Peer-review Process

Meanwhile, some people criticize the science blog’s authenticity as these are not peer-reviewed. Peer review ensures production of quality articles (see post on the benefits of peer-review). But readers take care of this concern, through their comments. Some may even be authorities in their respective fields.

To illustrate this situation, see the lengthy comments on Canadian microbiologist Rosie Redfield’s critic in her science blog of a NASA finding. Colleagues responded to the post and gave their confirmation or criticism of the ideas presented in the article. The blog’s author, as well as other readers, responded or reacted to the critic’s concern. No conventional scientific journal can feature this kind of interaction between people.

Carsten Könneker, lead researcher and science communication expert of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany noted that “Blogging is only one digital format for science communication. Scientists who don’t make use of any of these formats are missing out on immense opportunities” (Brown and Woolston, 2018).

Finally, this blog allows me to present my ideas and share my experiences not only to my students but students from all over the world. The feeling of satisfaction from readers who find my articles helpful is immeasurable. At times, I write articles about my research findings. In effect, this blog functions as a science blog.

Science blogs, therefore, are powerful media to share scientific information. Join the community of science bloggers. Write your thoughts here.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (June 1, 2019). SCIENCE BLOGS: a way to disseminate scientific information. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/06/01/science-blogs/

References

Brown, E. and Woolston, C. (2018). Why science blogging still matters. Retrieved on January 19, 2019 from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01414-6.

Putnam, L. (2011). The changing role of blogs in science information dissemination. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 65(4).

© 2019 June 1 P. A. Regoniel

Academic writing skills: five tips to enhance your paper

Academic writing skills need time and effort to hone. But how would you develop your skills to write like a seasoned scientist? As a university professor, I found the following five tips useful in writing articles and long academic papers easy, fast, and professional looking. Read on to find out.

Ten Tips in Developing Academic Writing Skills

1. Use technological aids

The age of information brings with it lots of technological aids useful in writing academic papers. Just minding the underlined words in your paragraph and reading the suggestions offered by MS Word using its spelling and grammar function can help improve your academic writing skills. Take time to correct your spelling and grammar using the tips, and definitely, you will deliver a better paragraph.

While I am confident that I can write and express myself well in English, I once subscribed in Grammarly to improve my grammar. My once too busy schedule and a change in routine at home prevented me from writing regularly and making full use of the app. Hence, I stopped using it.

However, knowing that my blog, this website, gains more traffic with each blog I write and realizing that additional income significantly supplements my regular job, I resolved to post articles once again frequently. I re-subscribed in Grammarly to help me compose my articles better yet. Pieces that are virtually free of errors get ranked well and gain more views. I believe it is a good investment for a blogger like me.

2. Use Free Sources of Literature

Google Scholar is an excellent aid to help develop academic writing skills. It is an indispensable online, freely accessible search engine that lets you browse digital copies of articles related to your research interests.

Decades back, I have a hard time looking for related literature and judge whether a topic is worth pursuing. Google Scholar makes it easy as it archives articles from scientific journals. Just read the metadata and decide whether it suits your theme. You may read my previous post titled How to Start a Review of Literature and see how to make full use of the search engine.

If you cannot afford the price of the article you are interested in, you may use free online sources like the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), CORE, Science Open, and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), among others. Open access articles allow you to read the essential contents of the scientific paper like the methodology. Hence, you can improve your academic writing skills by citing relevant scientific articles.

3. Use Statistics in Your Write-up

The use of numbers in your write-up makes it more interesting. Summarizing them in the form of tables, graphs, or infographic even make information much more enjoyable. According to an infographic by MDG Advertising, articles with relevant images get 94% more views (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Infographic on the impact of relevant images in articles.

4. Look for Mentors to Hone Your Academic Writing Skills

Finding a good mentor to give you feedback on your write-ups helps a lot. Have constant interaction with a colleague who has a keen eye in spotting spelling, grammatical problems, or even your logic.

Asking people to comment on your paper makes peer review a critical process in developing your academic writing skills. Even small but significant punctuation errors reflect on the accuracy and reliability of your article. Common mistakes like the use of colons, semi-colons, and the correct written form of “et al.” say a lot about you as an academic writer.

5. Maintain a Habit of Writing

Practice makes perfect. You cannot perfect your trade with just a few essays here and there. Develop your writing style and establish a habit of writing.

Allocate specific time frames to write, and do it whether you are inspired to write or not. It will help if you know when is the best time to write. I usually allocate two hours to write an article. But I noticed an article written in 30 minutes gained a lot of views!

Are you a morning person or a night person? Knowing your writing preference relieves you of mental blocks. Make sure that you can do your writing without interruption on those times to avoid breaking your flow of thought.

Recognizing the time when you can best compose an article makes the task easy to do. For sure, with constant practice, your academic writing skills will gradually improve through time.

To summarize everything and I recap, remember the five tips I have just described. I know these tips helped me write high traffic articles in Simplyeducate.me. The tips also enabled me to write books which took a lot of time to produce.

Do you have more tips in mind that works for you? Please share in the comments below.

© 2019 May 25 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (May 25, 2019). Academic writing skills: five tips to enhance your paper. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/05/25/academic-writing-skills/

Natural Remedy to Mango Pulp Weevil Infestation: Evolution at Work?

Plants evolve their own defense to threats to its survival (Ryan, 1990). To prevent attacks to their fruits as a vehicle of sustaining the species, plants secrete substances that make them vulnerable to pests. Either they produce substances that are toxic to animals such as alkaloids, saponins, volatile oils, resins and phenolics. Or maybe a highly acidic sap that can kill intruding insects? This article presents the case of highly acidic sap that probably helped control mango pulp weevil infestation.

Mango Pulp Weevil

The latter mechanism may be at work in the recent experience I’ve had with mangoes grown just within our lot. Almost five years ago, I posted an article titled “Mango Pulp Weevil: A Pest Control Problem in Palawan Island” I saw first-hand how the mango pulp weevil (Sternochetus frigidus) escapes from the mango pulp to again re-infect other mangoes with its pulp destructive reproductive strategy. The mango weevil grows within the mango pulp! This reproductive strategy is damaging to the mango industry where many farmers depend as a source of livelihood.

Hence, out of curiosity, after years of not benefiting much from mangoes grown in our yard, I harvested fifty mangoes from our naturally grown mangoes. No pesticide was sprayed on the two 29-year old trees through the years. I wrapped the harvested green but mature mangoes with paper and cut a diamond hole to monitor its ripeness as the days go by.

Categories of Mangoes

Anticipating the presence of mango weevil, I listed three categories on whiteboard: 1) uninfected, normal mangoes, 2) infected mangoes, 3) mangoes infected with other mango diseases. I added the last category noting that there is a tendency of the mangoes to rot (Figure 1) even before they ripen.

mango rot
Figure 1. Mango with rotten part at stem portion.

After consuming and giving some mangoes to family and friends while asking for their feedback on the state of the mangoes, the following are the results:

Uninfected, normal mangoes: 48
Infected with mango weevil: none
Infected with other diseases: 2 (mango rot)

More Acidic Sap in Mango Controls Mango Pulp Weevil?

While this may be just anecdotal evidence, it is possible that the mango has developed a natural immunity against the mango weevil. Apparently, the mango sap has become more acidic than usual as when I harvested the mangoes, trickles of acid from the harvested portion hit my face. I felt a little burning sensation but regarded it lightly. However, after taking a bath and looking at the mirror, I noticed ugly streaks of burnt skin run through my face (Fig. 2). I never thought it could happen although when I searched online, indeed mango sap can cause phytoallergy among mango harvesters. Thankfully, the burnt skin healed after several days.

burnt skin
Figure 2. Skin surface burnt by mango sap.

While detaching the mango from the petiole, spurts of white sap burst forth from the fruit. There is strong pressure of escaping sap from the mango. So detaching a mango from its attachment should be done carefully to avoid skin contact with the highly corrosive sap.

Mango Sap Hypothesis

I recognize that a rigorous study need to be done to affirm this observation. The hypothesis for that full-scale study would be: The highly acidic sap of mangoes can kill or at least prevent mango weevil eggs from being inoculated in the mango pulp. The mango may have developed natural resistance to the mango weevil as pest. This may be a demonstration of Barry Commoner’s third law of ecology: Nature knows best.

References

Ryan, C. A. (1990). Protease inhibitors in plants: genes for improving defenses against insects and pathogens. Annual review of phytopathology28(1), 425-449.

© 2019 May 23 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (May 23, 2019). Natural Remedy to Mango Pulp Weevil Infestation: Evolution at Work?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/05/23/natural-remedy-to-mango-pulp-weevil-infestation-evolution-at-work/

Variables of the Study in the Research Paradigm: Which Ones to Include?

One of the doctor in educational administration students in my advanced statistics class once asked: “How do you choose the variables of the study? Which ones should be included in the research paradigm?”

This concern comes up when dealing with research problems involving several variables. Such studies employ multivariate analysis like multiple regression, factor analysis, discriminant analysis, among others. Many quantitative dissertation papers use these statistical tests. Therefore, the variables of the study need to be properly identified prior to data gathering.

Of course, to put everything in its proper context, the paradigm of the study appears in the later part of the formal research paper. Choosing the variables of a study requires a good understanding of the topic under investigation. A good understanding of the topic comes after a thorough review of related literature. However, you need to be clear beforehand on what issues or problems you want to investigate.

Thus, choosing the variables that will form part of the paradigm requires clear thesis statements.  Given that the graduate students’ pursue a doctoral degree in educational administration, they must look into issues or problems related to their specialization.

In view of the foregoing, a doctor of education degree prepares individuals to serve as leaders in schools or colleges, or work for school districts or government organizations. Doctor of education holders usually do research for policy making purposes. Hence, exploration of educational administration topics precedes any research activity.

Variables of the Study

Research titles reflect the variables of the study. For example, the following issues or problems on educational administration may be looked into by graduate students of educational administration:

  1. Efficacy of peer supervision,
  2. Factors affecting the impact of professional development programs on teachers’ performance,
  3. Factors affecting students’ self-efficacy in elementary education,
  4. Classroom factors affecting students’ academic achievement, and
  5. Factors affecting the effective integration of information technology in the classroom.

The above titles expressly state or imply the variables of the study. Specifically, in the specific order given above, the variables considered include:

  1. peer supervision or arrangements where peers work together for mutual benefit;
  2. professional development programs, teachers’ performance;
  3. factors affecting students’ self-efficacy such as performance experience, vicarious experience, social persuasion, imaginal experience, and physical and emotional states (Bandura, 1988), students’ self efficacy;
  4. classroom factors, students’ achievement; and
  5. factors affecting the use of information technology, effectiveness of information technology.

Meanwhile, for statistical tests to be properly applied, the variables must be measurable. The variables belong to any of the four types of variables namely nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.

Finally, an illustrated example hammers the idea in. The following paradigm demonstrates the relationship of variables in the study on students’ self-efficacy:

variables of the study
Factors affecting self-efficacy [Source: LaRocca (2017)].

Finally, I believe that practice makes perfect. Try to work on the other four examples to test your understanding.

References

Bandura, A. (1988). Organisational applications of social cognitive theory. Australian Journal of management, 13(2), 275-302.

LaRocca, B. (2017). Self-efficacy tookit. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from https://www.transformingeducation.org/self-efficacy-toolkit/

© 2018 September 24 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (September 24, 2018). Variables of the Study in the Research Paradigm: Which Ones to Include?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2018/09/24/variables-of-the-study/



Why undertake a literature review?

A literature review related to the topic chosen by researchers occupies an entire section of a thesis. Why undertake a thorough literature review? This article explains why.

The conduct of research requires a literature review. The review enables you, as a researcher, to get a good grasp of the topic at hand. Hence, to make the review useful in building up the conceptual framework of the thesis,  visiting libraries would be a good idea. Read the latest scientific journals relevant to the academic discipline where you belong. You may also surf the internet to read full scientific articles for free, especially with the preponderance of open access journals. You may also find Google Scholar very useful in finding related literature. Further, useful sources of information include government websites, particularly those that offer statistical data.

Reinventing the Wheel

Reviewing the literature prevents the duplication of previous work done on the topic identified.  Thus, literature review saves money, time and effort. It prevents the “reinvention of the wheel.” This idiomatic expression means that doing something that others have already done is a waste of time.

Landmark Papers: Most Cited

Researchers consider some research publications with high regard. These publications are referred to as landmark papers. Landmark, must-read, papers have become popular among researchers as sensible sources of information. Usually well-known authority figures in the field author these publications.

However, the popularity of a paper does not necessarily mean that the arguments, hypothesis or theories presented by that author eludes correction. Contemporary researchers, armed with new insights from evidences gathered through meticulous research or experimentation, can debunk the philosophies advanced by an authority figure and render them as myth.

literature-review
Aristotle says it so.

Theories from well-known personalities can always be challenged as new information comes in. For example, Aristotle, one of the greatest intellectual figures of western history, proclaimed that women have fewer teeth than men. Of course, he missed counting the teeth to verify his statement.  Until… somebody challenged the idea by just suggesting “Let’s count.” A simple experiment ended the idea from a well-known figure.

Point of Saturation of the Literature Review

Familiarity with the research or investigation made by other researchers enables you to understand the issue at hand better. Upon reading a substantial number of research studies, there comes a point where no further new information could be gained. If you have experienced this, you have reached the point of saturation. Thus, you can confidently say that you have read enough scientific papers related to the topic.

In conclusion, the literature review sheds light on what has been done so far about the research topic. It reveals “gaps” that warrant further investigation. Good research practice presents this “gap” in knowledge in the introduction of the study. Statement of objectives or statements of the problem to address that gap follow. Hence, a follow-up study produces new information.

© 2018 August 19 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (August 22, 2018). Why undertake a literature review?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2018/08/22/why-undertake-a-literature-review/

Resting Pulse Rate of 45: Is it Normal?

Is a resting pulse rate of 45 alarming? I narrate my story to explain why it is not so.

I just woke up early in the morning in anticipation of my weekend run. While I take the effort to run at least two to three times in a week, the hectic responsibilities in the office would not make it possible. But there is an inner resolve that I will go back once again to such routine.

The quiet of 4 o’clock in the morning relaxes my mind and I feel the calm in my body. I feel good.

Earlier, I bought a wrist blood pressure monitor to replace the old one I had used for regular checking of my blood pressure wary of possible circulatory problems. But this was defective, meaning, it records higher than the conventional sphygmomanometer by 20mm Hg upon comparison. So I was forced to return it to the drugstore and had it replaced by the more reliable Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor HEM-7121 of Omron. Omron claims that this gadget provides accurate and comfortable upper arm blood pressure measurement with its so called enhanced IntelliSense Technology.

The saleslady admitted that indeed, many of those who bought the gadget heard the same complaint as mine. That local, cheaper brand blood pressure wrist monitor displays alarmingly higher blood pressure than what it should be.

Resting Pulse Rate of 45!

Looking at the display after taking the third measurement of my blood pressure as it settled in about 12 minutes, the blood pressure monitor showed 123/80 readings of my systolic and diastolic pressure. And my resting pulse rate is only 45! In my previous post in 2014, it was 44 beats per minute.

According to the National Institute of Health of the US, the normal resting pulse rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Anything lower than that is a troubling condition called bradycardia or abnormally slow heart action – a symptom of heart disease.

geeks
Exercise for geeks (Source: xkcd)

But is this something that I should be concerned of? Not really, as I had been regularly running three miles without stopping for the past five years. I consider myself belonging to well trained athletes with resting pulse rate ranging from 40 to 60 beats per minute. Well conditioned athletes like Daniel Green registered a resting pulse rate of just 26 beats per minute.

Now I can hear the rains pouring outside. My exercise for the day may be averted, but I can still wait for an hour for it to subside. Alternatively, I can just run at the roofed bleachers of the sports complex to complete my regular three, sometimes four, miles in roughly 30 minutes.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services of the US recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. That’s roughly 30 minutes everyday. But you can add more time of both intensive and moderate workouts to reduce weight. Benchmark your resting pulse rate to see your progress through time.

Happy running.

How to Start a Review of Literature

Writing the literature review of a research paper needs careful planning. It requires the employment of logical steps before drawing out one’s conceptual framework. This article provides information on how to start a review of literature using Google Scholar, an online database of scientific information, as a source of relevant publications.

The task of doing research is not easy for a beginning researcher. Unfamiliarity with scholarly publications pertinent to a chosen topic causes one to falsely conclude that no work has been done so far on the issue at hand. A good review of literature prevents this tendency. But how should one go about it?

The following article shows how to start a review of literature using Google Scholar, an online database of scientific publications.

Clear Understanding of the Research Topic Before Review of Literature

A literature review revolves around a central theme – the research topic or research problem. The research topic should be stated clearly to guide the review of literature. A good review of literature starts off with a good understanding of the research topic.

Writing the research topic in question form facilitates the review of literature. The research problem arises from one’s observation of a phenomenon that prompts the need for a research investigation.

Examples of Problem Statement

For example, the disaster response team observed that despite government warnings to evacuate in anticipation of a strong typhoon, many of the residents opted to stay in their homes despite the threat to their lives and property.

Several questions arise such as:

1. Does ignorance of the government’s warning of the impending danger an indication that people do not trust weather predictions?
2. Do residents value more their property than their lives?
3. Do the residents feel that they will survive the disaster despite its severity? What made them feel that way?

Use of Relevant Keywords in the Search for Related Literature

The three questions given in the previous section clearly state the focus of the review of literature. One can deduce keywords that may be used for online search of related literature such as “believability of weather predictions” for the first problem statement.

Typing “believability of weather predictions” in Google Scholar returns the following related literature:

literature review
Figure 1. Two articles related to research problem 1.

The above figure shows that other researchers have conducted studies related to the first problem statement. Two out of ten articles returned have bearing on the first question. We can say then that the topic is researchable. Figure 1 also shows the following information:

1. the title of the study (in large blue fonts);
2. the authors with the main author underlined, the date and the publisher (in green);
3. a meta description that summarizes the page’s content (three lines of description in black highlighting keywords related to the searched keyword);
4. information on article citations (46 and 81 respectively in the two articles); and
5. a link to related articles.

Clicking on the title link of the first article, the following abstract comes up:

Abstract

This study assessed responses to variations of several notable news credibility measures. TV news was evaluated as more credible than newspapers, although its margin of supremacy was a function of researcher operationalizations of the concept.

The study is about news credibility and the influence of the researcher’s method on news credibility. Television news was found more credible than newspapers. But we are not after credibility comparison of television and newspapers. This is not the kind of information that we want. So we proceed to the next article about hurricane forecast and warning system.

Clicking on the title link of the succeeding article, the abstract appears. Although the focus of the article is on hurricane warning, it can be discerned that the article discusses high priority social science issues. Again, this appears to be still out of the topic.

However, getting back to the meta description and upon closer scrutiny, there is an important information that may be of interest to us. It says, “In risk communication, believability depends on trust and confidence in the source, raising …” (Figure 2). This is important information that a researcher can follow through. The article, after all, may be relevant to what we want. We need to secure the article.

We are fortunate that upon checking on the article again, there is a link at the far right that indicates a pdf file (encircled in red) is available for download. After downloading and reading the article, I found out that there are many relevant statements related to the issue of believability of predictions.

review of literature
Figure 2. Article related to research problem 1 with a pdf link.

It will now easy to collect other articles similar to the above article using the same procedure. Identify the relevant article title, read the meta description, and explore the availability of the material. With patience and a little imagination, you will be able to collect the literature that you need for your research.

You may proceed to the next problem statement and see if you can follow.

©2018 February 16 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (February 16, 2018). How to Start a Review of Literature. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2018/02/16/review-of-literature/

How to Write the Conceptual Framework in a Research Proposal

Many of the users of Simplyeducate.me post a lot of queries in the high traffic article I wrote titled: Conceptual Framework: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make One. The article’s intent is to provide useful tips on how to write the conceptual framework in a research proposal.

Despite the step-by-step, simplified guide on how to write the conceptual framework, the many questions posed by the readers suggest that they are unable to comprehend fully well the contents of the article. Through time, more than 400 comments were made in just that simple article. Interest in the topic is quite high. At this writing, more than 2,500 users read the article daily. Aside from grateful comments, readers ask a lot of questions about how to go about their conceptual framework despite the illustrative example.

Some of those who made comments ask too specific questions related to their research topics. Several masters degree candidates even send manuscripts for review and comments, eagerly waiting for my response. Many of those questions make sense while the others show the dilemma of a beginning researcher. Some of the comments indicate that the user did not read the article at all because the answer to their questions are already discussed in the article.

Among those common questions asked pertain to the determination of the independent and the dependent variables. Discernment of the difference between these types of variables appears to be difficult for many. Also, questions indicate a failure to relate one’s own research topic to what was explained in the article on how to write the conceptual framework in a research proposal. Nevertheless, I oblige by answering so very basic questions giving detailed suggestions and examples.

However, answering questions on specific research topics prove to be time consuming. I have to review the literature to make sure that my answer will be backed up by science. Reviewing the literature takes a lot of time. Although I enjoyed answering the questions, I cannot respond to all the specific queries on how to build one’s conceptual framework. Writing in Simplyeducate.me is basically a hobby; a way to share my understanding of the research process. I admit that my ideas are subject to scrutiny, and I thankfully respond to readers who point out overlooked points or glaring errors.

conceptual
Scrabble forming the word concept (Source: http://alphastockimages.com/)

To be more effective in addressing the readers’ queries, I wrote the e-book titled “Conceptual Framework Development Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide with Five Practical Examples.” The e-book is a compilation of all conceptual framework related articles that I previously wrote in this site and in other blogging websites. I added lecture materials in the graduate school plus personal experience in doing research to enrich the discussion. Further, recognizing the effectiveness of examples to illustrate concept, I added five concrete examples using actual scientific papers to the e-book. The task was tedious, but it seems the e-book has fulfilled its purpose.

Thus, for those who find difficulty in writing the conceptual framework in a research proposal, the e-book detailing the steps on how to write the conceptual framework in a research proposal is a must have. For those who have availed of this publication, the author will be happy to receive comments, suggestions, and healthy criticisms to further enrich this work. All for the sake of better research outputs and … discovery.

If you are patient enough to browse in this site, chances are, you will find answers to your research-related questions. If not, then my e-book on How to Write a Thesis in the Information Age compiles all the research tips I wrote in this site and other websites with review questions as well as exercises.

Please message me about that specific topic you would like to know more about and I will respond with an article related to your query.

Eight Doable Agricultural Practices to Mitigate the Impacts of Global Climate Change

Here are eight doable agricultural practices to mitigate the impacts of global climate change.

Billions of dollars were lost due to unpredictable climate changes all over the world. While debate rages on, whether climate change is man-induced or not, resolute actions must be done to mitigate the impacts associated with this global phenomenon.

It was originally pointed out by this author that the major contribution modern agricultural practices make to the global climate change scenario are emissions of greenhouse gases namely methane and carbon dioxide (see Regoniel, 2010). Since current agricultural practices is the recognized source of these greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation must therefore address issues concerning reduction of these greenhouse gases either through emission prevention or sequestration of atmospheric emissions especially of carbon.

How then can agricultural practices prevent or minimize greenhouse gas emissions as well as sequester back what has been emitted into the atmosphere?

Hereunder are eight doable agricultural practices to mitigate the impacts of global climate change:

1. Plant crop varieties that better reflect sunlight back out to space.

By planting crops that have high reflectivity or albedo, summertime temperatures could be reduced by more than one degree Celsius in places like Eurasia and central North America. This approach is referred to as bio-geoengineering. Selection of crops that have high reflectivity can reflect sunlight back out into space and lower global air temperature.

2. Undertake organic farming.

Organic farming enhances soil quality particularly in keeping the soil moist. Done on a large scale, these agricultural practices can prevent drying of land and land degradation due to the use of chemicals fertilizers.

3. Apply fertilizer precisely.

To reduce excessive emission of greenhouse gases as well as water pollution due to unabsorbed fertilizers, precise application of fertilizers is recommended by scientists.

4. Reduce consumption of meat.

Reducing the consumption of meat products on a global scale can decrease the amount of methane-producing animals raised to supply global demand for meat. This will also reduce land areas that need to be cleared for cattle grazing. These grazing lands can be grown with cover crops instead to serve as carbon sinks or storage. Also, crops with high albedo reflects back excessive sunlight into space as pointed out earlier.

5. Grow diverse crop varieties.

Growing diverse crop varieties that are less reliant on fertilizer and fossil fuel inputs can reduce crop vulnerability to unpredictable weather changes. This will be much more advantageous than monoculture farms which are susceptible, not only to extreme climatic conditions, but also to pest outbreaks during abnormal climate conditions such as those brought about by El Niño. Planting crops with a wide temperature threshold value or pest resistant species can ensure survival. Selection of indigenous plant material that evolved through time can therefore be a wise option to take.

6. Plant trees in strategic locations in farms.

Lost carbon sequestration capacity due to clear-cutting of trees for agriculture can be compensated by planting trees around farms or setting aside forest patches alongside farms. Care must be taken in selecting tree species to grow alongside farms as their fruits or flowers might attract crop predators or pests. This system is called agroforestry. Planting trees has the added benefit of serving as buffer against storms to prevent crop destruction.

Further, trees send their roots considerably deeper than the crops. This allows them to survive a drought and protect both crops and land from too much sun exposure thus minimize water evaporation. Tree roots also pump water into the upper soil layers where crops can tap it, and create spaces for water flow. Leaf litter also generates compost and serves as mulch to keep water from escaping rapidly into the atmosphere.

7. Stagger planting of crops.

Staggered planting of crops can prevent total crop failure due to abrupt climate shifts. Losses will also be minimized.

8. Use energy efficient systems (environmental technology) in running farms.

Use of energy efficient technologies can significantly reduce emission of greenhouse gases from farm machineries. Sunshine Farm in British Columbia has been farming without fossil fuels, fertilizers, or pesticides. It runs essentially on sunlight. They produce their own biodiesel from homegrown sunflower seeds and soybeans. Three-fourths of its feed for horses, cattle, and poultry are derived from the farm. Electricity is provided through a 4.5-kilowatt photovoltaic array.

Adoption of low-carbon environmental technologies such as wind, solar, biofuel, biomass, hydro- and geothermal power can make farms work in an efficient and sustainable manner.

Government policies that encourage the above agricultural practices can help mitigate global climate change impacts. And of course, policies become ineffective if these are not implemented by concerned government, non-government and private institutions.

Global climate change is a serious matter that should be addressed by environment-friendly agricultural practices whether this phenomenon is a normal part of the earth’s global temperature fluctuations or indeed it is anthropogenic or man-induced in nature.

References:
e-Science News, 2009. Strategic farming practices could help mitigate global warming. Retrieved on April 2, 2010 at http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/01/15/strategic.farming.practices.could.help.mitigate.global.warming.

Halweil, B., 2005. The irony of climate in Worldwatch Magazine. Retrieved on March 27, 2010 at http://www.worldwatch.org/node/572.

Herro, A., 2008. Adjustments to agriculture may help mitigate global warming. Retrieved on March 27, 2010 at http://www.bluemoonfund.org/news/news_show.htm?doc_id=649332.

Hindu, The, 2009. India: Organic farming to mitigate global warming. Retrieved on March 27, 2010 at http://www.hindu.com/seta/2009/12/24/stories/2009122450101400.htm.

Maathai, W., 2009. Africa: Continent Must Protect Forests to Mitigate Global Warming. Retrieved on March 27, 2010 at http://allafrica.com/stories/200906231119.html.

Regoniel, P.A., 2010. Two major agricultural causes of global climate change. Retrieved on April 2, 2010 at http://knoji.com/two-major-agricultural-causes-of-global-climate-change/.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (November 29, 2017). Eight Doable Agricultural Practices to Mitigate the Impacts of Global Climate Change. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2017/11/29/eight-doable-agricultural-practices-to-mitigate-the-impacts-of-global-climate-change/

What is Experiential Learning?

What is experiential learning? This article describes this learning approach, presents a model of how it works and gives an example. It also enumerates the four steps of the learning process and the elements needed for learners to gain knowledge.

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is founded on the idea that learning takes place among students by giving them the experience to do what is expected of them. Kolb (1984) defines learning as “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.” It does not follow the conventional one-way lecture approach where students become passive listeners. Learning takes place when students desire to gain the knowledge they seek. Thus, teachers need to guide students through the process of learning by experience.

The philosophy behind experiential learning is that students learn best when allowed to discover new things and experiment on the outcomes of an action firsthand, instead of just hearing or reading about the experiences of others. Students learn after they have reflected on their experiences, with the end in view of doing it better the next time they engage in such activity.

Model of Experiential Learning

The desire to learn varies among individuals. Hence, experiential learning focuses on the individual’s learning process.

Let us see how experiential learning takes place by presenting a model. A model is a representation of what scientists think about how it works. One of the popular models of experiential learning is that of Kolb (1984). The four-step experiential learning model is presented in the figure below.

what is experiential learning
Experiential learning model by Kolb (1984).

How is the model applied in real life situations? The following example will show how this model works.

Example of Experiential Learning

I employ experiential learning whenever a software application interests me. Being an open source enthusiast, I studied Lyx, an advanced open source document processor running on Linux. Nobody in my work environment knows how to use Lyx, so I learned by discovery.

Once the software has started, I just typed on the document processor and used the menu by clicking on it and selecting from the dropdowns. I discovered that a button, for example, sets the font in Italic in a way different from the word processors that I use. As the I go through the whole process, I discovered many other things or features of the software. Thus, I learn more things as I reflect on the effects of my action and apply what I have in mind.

Using the model, the following are the four steps of the learning process:

  1. Concrete experience: booting up the computer, installing Lyx, and opening the software for actual use;
  2. Active experimentation: playing with the menus;
  3. Reflective observation: discovering that the Menu labeled Edit contains the command to change the default font to italic, bold, among others,
  4. Abstract conceptualization: figuring out the use of other menus using the experience gained.

Elements of Experiential Learning

Experiential learning takes place even without a teacher around. However, learning becomes much more meaningful if the learner possesses the following characteristics:

  1. willing to engage actively in the activity,
  2. reflects on the experience,
  3. uses analytical skills, and
  4. able to decide and solve problems using new ideas gained from experience.

References

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning as the science of learning and development. Prentice-Hall. 256pp.

University of Colorado (n.d.). What is experiential learning.  Retrieved on July 22, 2017 from http://www.ucdenver.edu/life/services/ExperientialLearning/about/Pages/WhatisExperientialLearning.aspx

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (July 22, 2017). What is Experiential Learning?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2017/07/22/what-is-experiential-learning/