IFSA 2012 PhD Course on Systems Thinking and Practice and Farming Systems Research
In connection to the 10th IFSA Symposium, a PhD course on "Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research: Making connections to Farming Systems Research" will be offered. The purpose of the course is to help PhD students to develop skills in contextualizing their research and making connections among issues using systems thinking.
Key objectives of the course include:
- gaining an overview of the intellectual traditions of Farming Systems Research,
- making links to the history of IFSA,
- strengthening our research through developing understanding of systems theories and methodologies,
- having opportunity to reflect on strengths and weaknesses of different systems methodologies in relation to own PhD research,
- getting added value from our participation in the Århus Symposium by also becoming part of a parallel critical learning systems community that has a PhD research focus,
- developing appreciation of multiple perspectives on contemporary issues, and
- working across multiple disciplines.
The PhD course will benefit from the fact that many outstanding researchers within farming system approaches will be gathered at the Symposium of the International Farming Systems Association. Contributions specifically to this course will come from experienced researchers who have been a part of the IFSA community for many years. They will include lectures and/or workshops that
- introduce systems theories,
- consider different systems approaches and methodologies suitable for researching issues of farming, food, rural areas and environment,
- bridge the different systems approaches – soft, hard, critical, viable etc.,
- explore how to deal with handling of complexity and modeling,
- critically review focuses on action, learning and reflexivity,
- explicate social systems and learning systems approaches, and
- explore the relationship between systems approaches and transdisciplinary research.