Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Human Resource Education and Workforce Development
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of Extension cotton advisory committees as perceived by parish Extension agents and clientele. The study was conducted statewide, in Louisiana, with a selected sample Extension agents and clientele representing the two major cotton-producing areas of the state. The data was obtained through six focus group interviews. Standard methodology for qualitative data was used in the analysis. Four focus group interviews involved cotton advisory committee members, and two involved Extension agents. Nineteen Louisiana parishes were targeted in the study. Study conclusions included the following: (a) advisory committees strongly influence decision making, (b) members are strongly involved in advisement, have some involvement in legitimation and communication, but no involvement; in interpretation, (c) members have strong involvement in implementation, weak in planning, and none in evaluation, (d) members perceive serving on the advisory committee as positive, (e) the advisory committee process should continue to function, and (f) speed of information delivery and developing sound working relationships are the major problems and educational programs are needed in marketing, biotechnology, pesticide record keeping, and integrated pest management. Based on the findings outlined above, the following recommendations were made by the researcher for improving cotton advisory committees and Extension programming: (1) Establish one parish advisory committee to cover all crops. (2) Focus on more effective representation and participation. (3) Recruit and involve more young producers. (4) Equip agents with a better understanding of the advisory committee process. (5) Utilize the Internet to speed delivery of information. (6) Create and staff area specialists positions in the cotton-producing areas of Louisiana. (7) Utilize the program areas of 4-H and home economics to convey information. (8) Future research to determine effective methods to involve clientele. (9) Determine effective training methods to assist agents and clientele in understanding the advisory committee process. (10) Study the roles that agents and clientele are playing in the advisory process. (11) Conduct case studies of parishes that have successful advisory committees. (12) A study to determine the perceptions of consultants, agribusiness, and research personnel related to cotton education programs. (13) Study the effectiveness of Extension education programs.
Barnett, John W., "A Qualitative Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service Cotton Advisory Committees Using Focus Group Interviews." (1997). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 6558.