June 2003 // Volume 41 // Number 3

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page
"Answers to Three Frequently Asked JOE Questions" does just what the name implies. (Hint: The answers all have something to do with the fact that JOE is a Web journal.) And, of course, "June 2003 JOE" mentions just some of the articles in a very good issue.


On the Reporting of Response Rates in Extension Research
Wiseman, Frederick
Extension researchers have been encouraged to report response rates obtained in sample surveys. Unfortunately, there is little agreement among survey researchers as to the exact meaning of this term or how it should be calculated and operationally defined. Recently, the work of an industry-wide task force attempted to resolve this problem by recommending alternative definitions and methods of calculation that could be used. Researchers are encouraged to implement the task force's recommendations so that others might be in a better position to properly evaluate the projectability of survey results.

Feature Articles

Decision-Making Styles: An Exploration of Preferences of On- and Off-Campus Faculty
Saunders, Kristine; Gallagher, Tom
Collaboration between off-campus agents and on-campus specialists is often strained. We hypothesized that the strain relates to the groups having different styles of decision making. We administered a variation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to on-campus specialists and off-campus agents in Utah. Although the groups share many MBTI preferences, there was a highly significant different on preference in the "judging" function, with 72% of the specialists indicating a Thinking preference and 60% of agents indicating a Feeling preference. This suggests major communication challenges when working together. We offer that the solution is in understanding the differences and using them as an asset.

Building a State Child Care Initiative: Applying Principles of Teamwork and Collaboration
Walker, Susan K.
It has long been advocated that, for Extension to respond to critical public issues, it will have to work across disciplines and as teams. This article reviews one state's efforts in building a child care initiative. Over the past 5 years, Maryland Cooperative Extension has pulled together individual county and city Extension family and Consumer Sciences educators to provide coordinated child care provider training and to build a statewide system of service to its audience and support to its members. Recommendations about team-building efforts are provided.

Partnerships for Natural Resource Education: Differing Program Needs and Perspectives of Extension Agents and State Agency Staff
Monroe, Martha C.; Jacobson, Susan K.; Bowers, Alison
An evaluative survey of 45 Extension agents and 59 state forestry agency staff in Florida 1 year after a joint in-service training provides insight into the program needs for both groups as they develop public education programs on wildland fire. Results analyzed three primary barriers to program implementation: educational, logistical, and attitudinal, providing insight into the needs for both groups as they develop public education programs. Providing a toolkit of materials and resources reduces logistical and educational barriers and assists agents with program delivery in a new topic area. Supervisor support may be key to reducing additional barriers that agents perceive.

Using Economic Impact Models as an Educational Tool in Community Economic Development Programming: Lessons from Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
Shields, Martin; Deller, Steven C.
Smaller communities throughout the U.S. are experiencing significant economic, social, and political change. Increasingly, if these communities are to address these changes in a proactive manner, they must undertake grassroots initiatives. Local efforts are increasingly important as community leaders clearly recognize that federal and state programs are often inadequate in their ability to address local concerns. In this article we outline an educational process designed to help provide communities with economic, social, and political information, using community economic impact modeling systems as a foundation.

Using Research and Planning to Develop Community Outreach: A Case Study in Helping Clientele Cope with Stress
Blaine, Thomas W.; Freppon, LuAnn; Konen, Joseph
Extension educators collaborated with local agencies to conduct a survey on sources of stress in the lives of local residents. Results reveal that five variables emerge as statistically significant factors associated with reported stress levels: financial problems, stress on the job, having too little time, number of major life changes in the past year, and being a woman. Educators followed with a Vision to Action Program that identified specific goals aimed at helping community residents cope with and reduce stress levels. Combining applied research with existing Extension programming is an effective way to engage the public on issues of local concern.

Diffusion-Adoption of Personal Computers and the Internet in Farm Business Decisions: Southeastern Beef and Peanut Farmers
Hall, Laura; Dunkelberger, John; Ferreira, Wilder; Prevatt, J. Walter; Martin, Neil R.
A survey was conducted during 1998 among two targeted segments of southeastern agriculture producers to evaluate questions about the effect of PC and Internet technology on farm operators' business activities and agriculture decision making. Beef cattle producers in Alabama (320) and peanut producers (327) in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida were sampled. 647 questionnaires were mailed. The questionnaire was completed and returned by 241 farmers. The Diffusion-Adoption Model was employed to characterize farmers by stage in the technology adoption process. Farmers who use the Internet were examined for their frequency and nature of Internet use when making farm business decisions.

Bibliographies as an Extension Outreach Tool: An Old Method in a New Age
Webster, Janet
Bibliographies, a librarian's basic tool, prove to be useful tools for Extension work. We all make lists of information--books, Extension bulletins, journal articles. Do we do it effectively? Defining the audience, determining the coverage, and creating timely access are a few of the challenges. Two Web-searchable bibliographies provide case studies of how this classic tool can address information needs.

Research in Brief

Urban and Rural 4-H Adult Volunteer Leaders' Preferred Forms of Recognition and Motivation
Fritz, Susan; Karmazin, Deanna; Barbuto, John; Burrow, Shawn
The article describes a study comparing the motives of urban and rural volunteers and identified differences in recognition preferences. A survey sent to 714 leaders across urban and rural Nebraska yielded 326 usable responses. Urban and rural respondents identified affiliation as their primary motivation. Urban respondents were more positive about the state and county 4-H programs. Rural volunteers were less interested in recognition at the county fair. Both groups identified "Letters from 4-H members" as the most meaningful form of recognition. The article presents recommendations for broader volunteer recruitment strategies and more personalized 4-H volunteer recognition.

Identifying 4-H Camping Outcomes Using a Standardized Evaluation Process Across Multiple 4-H Educational Centers
Garst, Barry A.; Bruce, F. A.
While camp participation has been found to positively affect youth, statewide 4-H camp evaluation is often difficult because camps are conducted at many different sites over a large geographical area and far away from their land-grant university. In cooperation with six regional Virginia 4-H educational centers, the State 4-H Office implemented a standardized evaluation process to identify 4-H camping outcomes. Camper and parent/guardian surveys identified multiple life skill benefits as a result of 4-H camp participation. Additionally, the study provided further support that collaboration between university faculty and field staff is a powerful tool for Extension programming.

Leadership Practices of West Virginia University Extension Agents Working with the 4-H Youth Development Program
Woodrum, William; Safrit, R. Dale
A descriptive study explored leadership practices of West Virginia University Extension Service (WVUES) agents with an appointment in 4-H and Youth programs. The researchers utilized a census and a mailed questionnaire for the study that incorporated both the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire MLQ. Overall, respondents' usage of both transactional and transformational leadership practices was average, with nearly equal usage of both leadership approaches. The authors discuss implications for WVUES that will affect its ability to achieve the visionary goals to which it aspires.

Agricultural Science Fairs: Are Students Truly Learning from This Activity?
Boleman, C. T.; Burrell, F. Jr.
Agriculture Science Fairs are designed to teach youth how agriculture is a part of their lives. A study measured the knowledge change of youth participating in an agricultural science fair in Texas. A pre-test/post-test was administered to 480 participants that revealed an increase in correct responses for nine out of 10 questions. Two scale statements revealed significant increases (p < 0.05) related to thoughts on how agriculture affects everyday life. Teachers were administered an ex-post facto instrument, and results indicated that the activity was a positive learning experience but that specific curriculum should be designed to support the activity.

Dietary Changes by Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Graduates Are Independent of Program Delivery Method
Luccia, Barbara H. D.; Kunkel, Mary E.; Cason, Katherine L.
Dietary changes of Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) graduates who participated in either individual or group education sessions were assessed. Paraprofessionals administered the Homemaker's 24-Hour Food Recall to EFNEP graduates. EFNEP graduates significantly improved the number of servings consumed from the grains, vegetables, dairy, and meat and meat alternates food groups. Graduates also significantly increased total calories consumed, dietary fiber intake, as well as iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 intake. These results were independent of method of nutrition education. Further research should determine the reasons why group instruction is as effective as individual instruction.

Investing For Your Future: Feedback from and Impact upon Learners
O'Neill, Barbara
Investing For Your Future is a Cooperative Extension basic investing home study course that is being used nationwide. The article describes a study of characteristics and behaviors of a convenience sample of 195 print and online course participants. Specific topics included are: feedback about the course's level and content, reported savings by participants, knowledge gained, and behavior changes made or planned by users as a result of taking the course. The article concludes with five implications for Extension educators.

Ideas at Work

Money on the Bookshelf: Using Children's Books to Reach Limited Resource Families with Money Management Education
Behal, Patricia A.; Bennett, Kymberley K.; Crites, Alice M.; Weigel, Dan
Helping families develop financial management skills and improve their communications about money is the goal of Money on the Bookshelf, a program built around children's books and used by Nevada Cooperative Extension to target limited resource audiences. Results showed significant improvements in how often parents: (1) talked with their children about things that relate to money, (2) included their children in talks about how family money is used, and (3) used everyday events as opportunities to talk with their children about money.

Coordinating and Conducting a Multi-State 4-H Horse and Pony Judges' School
Brady, C. M.; Griffin A. S.; Kline, R. C.
For many of the more than 250,000 4-H Horse and Pony project members in the United States, the highlight of their 4-H Horse and Pony experience is participation in their local, county or state 4-H fairs and horse shows. Adequate training of horse show judges in working with youth as well as judging and placing horses is an important part of creating a positive learning experience for these 4-H members. Extension specialists in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania combine efforts to create an effective judges' training seminar that meets the needs of the 4-H members, judges, and Extension staff.

Community Health as Community Partnerships
Goard, Linnette Mizer; Dresbach, Sereana Howard
The article describes a project to improve health outcomes of a rural community by fostering collaboration among the health care providers, support systems, consumers, and community leaders. The presence of Ohio State University Extension was a key step in building the framework for collaboration. A "Community Health Assessment" was developed as a means to do a broad-based survey of community residents. The assessment focused on health education, health care, and financial concerns. Survey results showed that many resident concerns were directly related to the infrastructure of health in the community.

Livestock Ethics--A Lesson for High School Students
Rusk, Clinton P.; Machtmes, Krisanna
A livestock ethics curriculum was developed in PowerPoint format for presentation to high school agriculture classes. The curriculum defines livestock ethics and describes four questions written by Goodwin (1996) that can be used to determine whether practices related to raising, training, and grooming youth livestock projects are ethical or unethical. A pretest/posttest was also written to assess the change in knowledge related to animal ethics. The results indicate that the improvement in scores from the pretest to the posttest was significant (t = 3.438, df = 67, p<0.001), with high school students posting an average knowledge increase of 9.9%.

Tools of the Trade

How to Create a Bibliography
Webster, Janet
Getting relevant information to our clients is critical for effective outreach. A librarian gives practical tips on creating bibliographies. The three parts cover why to create a bibliography, how to do it, and how to distribute it.

Providing Knowledge at the Click of a Mouse: Forestry and Natural Resources Desktop Reference Library
Bardon, Robert E.
North Carolina State University Forestry Extension developed The Forestry and Natural Resources Desktop Reference Library (DRL) to help Extension county agents overcome a lack of training in forestry and natural resources. DRL is a Web-based, distance learning and information resource project that incorporates synchronized multimedia and the World Wide Web to provide up-to-date research-based information on forestry and natural resources. DRL is the result of collaboration between researchers and Extension faculty to provide a time- and space-independent model for information exchange between the university and Extension agents.

Review of MicroMedium Digital Trainer Professional(R) as a Tool for Developing Teaching and Extension Training Programs
Lo, Y. Martin; Sadar, Lisa N.
The authors have been using Digital Trainer Professional® software for more than 4 years and found it to be effective in teaching classes and Extension training programs. The merit of the program is that, instead of reading a training manual or paper book, trainees interact with an e-book on their computer. E-books can track the reader's knowledge and evaluate responses to questions to measure their progress and performance, and gauge the effectiveness of the training.

Voices from College Student Mentors: Implications for Extension Programming with Latino Youth
Zamboanga, Byron L.; Knoche, Lisa
Changing demographics and unique cultural factors relevant to Latinos have prompted the need for culture-specific programming. This article draws on a qualitative study of six college student mentors (M age = 22; four women) and serves as a basis for discussing improved programming with Latino youth. Mentors' comments are presented, followed by recommended practices for Extension staff.