A timely assessment of how research is conducted in the United States. This unique contribution to the general field of research philosophy discusses topics that few researchers dare explore and few administrators appear to have the courage to consider. - Charles A. Francis, director, Center for Sustainable Agriculture Systems, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Clearly, the debate is no longer over agricultural sustainability as a legitimate goal, but about how to fulfill that goal. Research is a vital factor contributing to the creation of a sustainable agriculture. Entrenched ideas about the way agricultural research is conducted have been challenged by farmers, environmentalists, food-safety advocates, rural activists, and others. William Lockeretz and Molly D. Anderson meet these challenges and chart a reasoned course through the fray. They analyze the potential and the limits of various research approaches associated with alternative agriculture: multidisciplinary research, application of ecological principles in understanding agricultural systems, emphasis on the use of agricultural information, use of working farms as research sites, and the involvement of farmers in agricultural research. They also propose reforms in institutional aspects of agricultural research - the organization of academic departments, evaluation of professional achievement, functioning of grant programs, and the education of agricultural researchers. William Lockeretz is a research professor at Tufts University. His research is in alternative agriculture systems and research policy. Molly D. Anderson is a research assistant professor at Tufts University, where she is involved in research on agricultural pesticide alternatives and environmental education.
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