Agricultural Economics and Qualitative Research: Incompatible Paradigms?
The disciplinary paradigm of agricultural economics emphasizes rational behavior in a world constrained by scarce resources. The research practice focuses on the quantitative modeling of optimization behavior. These models, though, only offer limited support to practitioners in solving real-world problems. Qualitative research approaches contribute to this task, particularly with research in developing countries. Participatory action research was introduced in the seventies; case studies have been employed more often and have been discussed more intensively. But different qualitative approaches are hardly known in agricultural economics. However, exemplary theses, published in the series 'Research Reports on Economics in Horticulture', show the successful use of qualitative research methods in German agricultural research.
agriculture; horticulture; agribusiness; management; qualitative methods; case study