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Blogging as case study?

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 1:12pm

A reader made the comment that “blogging is like doing case studies”. Made me think about the similarities and differences. Since case study  is a well known qualitative method used in evaluation with small samples, I think this view is valid.

Blogs are small samples of something observed in depth, with great scrutiny, and often with serious time commitment, although Brinkerhoff in his book, “The Success Case Method”  advocates a case study method that is “valid, practical, fast, and credible”. I must provide the caveat that the book was developed for organizations which put out innovations and improvements (as in products, like Ford Motor Company, Gap International) not educational organizations (like universities or school districts), so a bit of translation will be needed.

There are many sources for case study research. Perhaps Bob Stake and Robert Yin are the  best known in the evaluation field. Bob Stake’s first book (that I have on my shelf; there may be others that I don’t have) is “The Art of Case Study Research” . Google books says this about that volume, “This book presents a disciplined, qualitative exploration of case study methods by drawing from naturalistic, holistic, ethnographic, phenomenological and biographic research methods.” (And it is less than 200 pages.) Robert Yin has a fifth edition of the “Case Study Research” book available now from Sage .

After you have been blogging for a while (several months, for example), the blog will have categorized the posts. The tags will help determine what are the most relevant points. Use those tags and categories to help develop the “case”. You will find posts that form the case, more cases than you realized. So multiple posts on the same subject will provide you with multiple observations; one post may provide you with a slice of something in-depth, an individual case study, if you will.

Scriven, in the 4th edition of the Evaluation Thesaurus says this of case-study method: “The case study method is at the opposite end of one dimension of the spectrum of methods from the survey method, the micro end rather than the macro end.” Blogs are a microcosm of information as well. He goes on, “…observing…is more characteristic of case-study method than large-scale surveys…Causation is usually determined in case studies by the modus operandi method, rather than by comparison of an experimental with a control group.” He refers the reader to “Naturalistic” where he references Ernie House, Egon Guba, Yvonna Lincoln, Bob Stake, and Bob Wolf and states that naturalistic approaches “…stress contextual factors, unstructured interviewing, observation rather than testing…”

All this reminds me of blogging.

What do you think? Is blogging a form of case study? Let me know.

my.

molly.

 

The post Blogging as case study? appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Lane County Livestock Association Breakfast Educational Program

Small Farms Events - Wed, 01/14/2015 - 2:36pm
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM

 

For more information contact Shelby Filley (541) 672-4461  shelby.filley@oregonstate.edu

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Salmon: Are We Making Progress in Oregon?

Breaking Waves - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 3:53pm

A new short video interview with Prof. Court Smith discusses his recent OSG publication, Salmon Abundance and Diversity in Oregon: Are We Making Progress? Smith, an OSU anthropologist and longtime scholar of the Oregon salmon fishery, talks with editor Rick Cooper about why he wrote the publication and what insights it offers. While salmon abundance in Oregon has improved somewhat in recent years from historic lows, concerns remain about how sustainable that abundance is and how it’s affected by diversity.

The video interview, shot and edited by Joe Cone, is available on the OSG YouTube channel, with captioning, and our Vimeo channel, in high definition.

Prof. Court Smith and the salmon publication

The publication itself, written for a non-specialist audience, is available for free download.

The post Salmon: Are We Making Progress in Oregon? appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Salmon: Are We Making Progress in Oregon?

Sea Grant - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 3:53pm

A new short video interview with Prof. Court Smith discusses his recent OSG publication, Salmon Abundance and Diversity in Oregon: Are We Making Progress? Smith, an OSU anthropologist and longtime scholar of the Oregon salmon fishery, talks with editor Rick Cooper about why he wrote the publication and what insights it offers. While salmon abundance in Oregon has improved somewhat in recent years from historic lows, concerns remain about how sustainable that abundance is and how it’s affected by diversity.

The video interview, shot and edited by Joe Cone, is available on the OSG YouTube channel, with captioning, and our Vimeo channel, in high definition.

Prof. Court Smith and the salmon publication

The publication itself, written for a non-specialist audience, is available for free download.

The post Salmon: Are We Making Progress in Oregon? appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Linn-Benton Livestock & Forages Breakfast Educational Program

Small Farms Events - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 6:35am
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM

 

For more information contact:

Shelby Filley (541)672-4461   shelby.filley@oregonstate.edu

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Last day to add a class by web

Health & Wellness Events - Sun, 01/11/2015 - 6:37am
Sunday, January 11, 2015 (all day event)

Growing Farms - North Coast

Small Farms Events - Thu, 01/08/2015 - 2:35pm
Thursday, January 8, 2015 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management

A hybrid course for beginning farmers that teaches those new to farming how to plan and manage a farm, while giving them tools to produce and market farmed and raised goods. The course also encourages interaction and community building among participants, helping build a professional network among small farmers and ranchers.

While developing a whole-farm plan, participants will learn about sustainable practices and land stewardship. The course encourages farmers to see how small farms and ranches fit into our community’s economic and environmental success.

Class meets:
5 - 8pm, Thursday, January 8
5 - 8pm, Thursday, January 22
9am - 4pm, Saturday, January 31
5 - 8pm, Thursday, February 12 

REGISTER HERE:  https://pace.oregonstate.edu/catalog/growing-farms-hybrid-course-beginning-farmers#introduction-section  

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

2015 International Year of Evaluation

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 8:53pm

I am reminded that 2015 is an important year to all evaluators.

The website, mymande.org/evalyear, , has devoted an entire page to the announcement. They are calling it “EvalYear”. You are invited to join the global year by visiting the mymande website. This web site explains more about the international year of evaluation. Check it out.

The year becomes important when one advocates for evaluation, when one does evaluation, when one supports an evaluator, and/or when one is an evaluator.

What can you do to contribute to 2015; to make 2015 truly an evaluation year?

 

my .

molly.

 

 

 

The post 2015 International Year of Evaluation appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Is Swiss Needle Cast still a Problem?

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:35pm
A Swiss Needle Cast affected tree

By Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Benton, Linn & Polk Counties

 

The short answer, unfortunately is ”yes”, but the news was clearly mixed when researches and land managers gathered for the Annual Meeting of the Swiss Needle Cast Coop (SNCC) in Corvallis on December 4. They met to review progress in learning more about this native disease, how it affects trees and forests, and how to manage forests in the affected areas.

The meeting included updates on this year’s aerial survey, progress in establishing the next generation of research plots across western Oregon, the effects of thinning and other management activities on foliage retention and growth, and improvements in remote sensing and growth modeling abilities. Some of the things I picked up this year included:

  • The disease is intensifying but not expanding greatly. That is to say, we are certainly seeing more severe disease symptoms in places, but mostly within areas where it has been a problem before, and the footprint of highly affected area does not seem to be growing very dramatically. The disease was detected on over 586,000 acres in 2014, which is up significantly from 18 years earlier (131,000 acres in 1996). The main area of impact remains near the coast, generally within 25 miles, except for an active area around Mary’s Peak.
  • Thinning pre-commercially does seem to help improve needle retention, but only in the healthiest trees and in the lower part of the live crown.
  • Unlike other stressors, such as drought, it seems that SNC-weakened trees are not highly attractive to Douglas-fir beetles.

 

2014 Aerial Survey Map
  • A new tree ring analysis suggests that Swiss Needle Cast (SNC) seems to be periodic, and that outbreaks have occurred at roughly 30 year intervals since the mid 12th century, the time of the Renaissance.
  • The same study detected indications of SNC outbreaks in each of the plots studied from the Coast to the high Cascades. Although a small study, this suggests that SNC is everywhere that Douglas-fir is.
  • An ODF economic analysis of the impacts of SNC in Oregon looked at 10 – 70 year old forests of the Oregon Coast Range. Based on an average 20% growth reduction of Douglas-fir where the disease has be detected in the aerial surveys, they concluded that volume loses to SNC in this age class exceeds 190 million board-feet per year, with an estimated log value of $78 million/year. The economic impact to Oregon’s economy is equivalent to 2,100 jobs, representing $117 million in labor income and $10 million in income tax, and including a loss of $700,000 in harvest tax. Ouch.

So this disease continues to cause damage (albeit sub-lethal damage) across a large area of coastal Oregon where it is most severe and noticeable, but it can be found in the valley and throughout the Douglas-fir growing region. This is really not new, but researchers are concerned about new reports of disease development in the foothills of the Cascades. We saw some heavily affected stands there, outside Sweet Home earlier this year. The Cooperative Aerial Survey conducted by USFS and ODF will include the western Cascades between the Columbia River and Eugene in 2015. Find out more about the work of the Swiss Needle Cast Coop including aerial surveys and past reports at the SNCC website, and watch for a tour this spring, when symptoms are at their ugly peak, to be organized by the Linn Chapter of SWA and OSU Extension.

 

SNC impacts on growth

The post Is Swiss Needle Cast still a Problem? appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Special call for proposals: Resilience research

Breaking Waves - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 9:19am

Oregon Sea Grant invites proposals from researchers affiliated with any Oregon institution of higher education for research projects that address cutting-edge resilience questions related to important marine and coastal issues.The deadline for submission is Feb. 9, 2015, and a notice of intent to apply is required by Jan. 19.

Projects will be selected through an open, competitive, peer-review process. Proposed work begins July 1, 2015.

The total available funding is $100,000; proposals that request $50,000 or less will have a competitive advantage since we want to fund as many efforts as possible, all else being equal. Available funding is set by the NOAA Sea Grant Program based on congressional appropriations, and is subject to change and rescission.

Complete details and a downloadable RFP are available from the Oregon Sea Grant Website.

The post Special call for proposals: Resilience research appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Special call for proposals: Resilience research

Sea Grant - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 9:19am

Oregon Sea Grant invites proposals from researchers affiliated with any Oregon institution of higher education for research projects that address cutting-edge resilience questions related to important marine and coastal issues.The deadline for submission is Feb. 9, 2015, and a notice of intent to apply is required by Jan. 19.

Projects will be selected through an open, competitive, peer-review process. Proposed work begins July 1, 2015.

The total available funding is $100,000; proposals that request $50,000 or less will have a competitive advantage since we want to fund as many efforts as possible, all else being equal. Available funding is set by the NOAA Sea Grant Program based on congressional appropriations, and is subject to change and rescission.

Complete details and a downloadable RFP are available from the Oregon Sea Grant Website.

The post Special call for proposals: Resilience research appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Winter Term 2014 begins

Health & Wellness Events - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 6:36am
Monday, January 5, 2015 (all day event)
Welcome back!

Sustainable Landscape Training - Lane County

Gardening Events - Wed, 12/31/2014 - 6:34am
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 9:00 AM - Thursday, December 11, 2014 5:00 PM

Learn practical information to create sustainable/green/ecological landscapes. Participants will learn to utilize landscape practices that can be applied to their own yards and will benefit by improving their soil biology and reducing erosion.

Class will meet both days, December 10-11, 2014 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Registration form and credit card payment option is available on the website: extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/gardens

Rare Holiday Fare: Authentic Lutefisk Recipe

Breaking Waves - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 10:58am

Bill Wick, ca. 1980

Back in 1991, the former Oregon Sea Grant director, William Q. (Bill) Wick, sent around the attached description  of how to prepare lutefisk, the Norwegian version of what to do with dry salted cod to make it edible—even, to some, tasty and delicious. Wick, of Danish/Norwegian heritage, was a World War II veteran before becoming an Extension agent and then Sea Grant director, and he navigated academia with practical common sense and good humor. This practical bent and dry humor are apparent in the recipe, which he no doubt hoped would cause others to appreciate this Scandinavian delicacy: as he writes, “there’s no such thing as ‘bad’ lutefisk.”

To Prepare Foolproof Lutefisk (.pdf)

The post Rare Holiday Fare: Authentic Lutefisk Recipe appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Rare Holiday Fare: Authentic Lutefisk Recipe

Sea Grant - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 10:58am

Bill Wick, ca. 1980

Back in 1991, the former Oregon Sea Grant director, William Q. (Bill) Wick, sent around the attached description  of how to prepare lutefisk, the Norwegian version of what to do with dry salted cod to make it edible—even, to some, tasty and delicious. Wick, of Danish/Norwegian heritage, was a World War II veteran before becoming an Extension agent and then Sea Grant director, and he navigated academia with practical common sense and good humor. This practical bent and dry humor are apparent in the recipe, which he no doubt hoped would cause others to appreciate this Scandinavian delicacy: as he writes, “there’s no such thing as ‘bad’ lutefisk.”

To Prepare Foolproof Lutefisk (.pdf)

The post Rare Holiday Fare: Authentic Lutefisk Recipe appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Understanding GMOs and forestry

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 12:40pm

By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

A sculpture of DNA among the trees. Photo credit: Aras Bilgen, Flickr Creative Commons

This week, the closest contest of last November’s election – the GMO labeling initiative – was finally put to rest after a recount.  The measure ultimately failed by a tiny margin, but it did a lot to put GMO’s into the public spotlight. Of course, the ballot measure had to do with food labeling, not trees, but it got me thinking that it might be worth looking at how GMOs relate to forestry.

What is a GMO?

In case you were not following along during election season, let’s start with a definition. A GMO is an organism whose genes have been directly altered by humans, in a laboratory, through genetic engineering within individual cells. GMO methods can be used to modify an organism’s own DNA or to insert DNA from another organism. The modified cells then are regenerated into whole organisms. Reasons for doing this might be to improve crop productivity, disease resistance, the nutritional yield of food plants, or resistance to herbicides to facilitate weed control. From the technology itself to the ways that GMO might be used in society, it quickly becomes obvious why GMOs can be very controversial.

What is not a GMO?

So, on to forestry and trees. Planting season is upon us, and if your seedlings are coming from one of the small woodlands seedling sales, or from a large commercial forest nursery, and you are planting Douglas-fir, then chances are your seedlings are advertised as “genetically improved”. Some people mistakenly think that this means that they are GMO trees, but this is not the case. For decades, we have employed traditional breeding techniques in forestry to produce seedlings that perform well. On the most basic level, this means that parent trees with desirable traits, such as drought tolerance, height growth, frost resistance, etc. are identified. Seeds or cuttings from these trees are collected and grown in a controlled area such as a seed orchard. More seed is collected from these trees, so that the desired traits can be passed on to the next generation. The “genetically improved” seedlings you plant are a product of this process, not of genetic engineering.

 

How might genetic engineering apply to forestry?

Chestnuts accumulated on a Portland sidewalk. Photo credit: Mike Kuniavsky, flickr.com Creative Commons

The story of the American chestnut tree is a good example. The American chestnut once was a major component of forests in the eastern United States. It was a valuable timber tree and an important food source for both people and animals. But, a fungal disease, the chestnut blight, introduced in the late 19th century virtually wiped it out. Only a few hundred trees survived. (American chestnut, while not native to Oregon, was brought over and planted by pioneers. The blight is not prevalent in Oregon, so chestnuts do well here.) Many people are working to try to restore the chestnut to its native range. Besides traditional breeding for blight resistance, some researchers are experimenting with genetic engineering. They have inserted a gene from wheat that conveys resistance to blight into American chestnut trees. The researchers are also testing many other genes, mostly derived from the blight resistant Chinese chestnut.

 

GMO research at Oregon State

At OSU, forestry professor Steve Strauss is recognized as a leader in genetic engineering research. He does a lot of his work on poplars and eucalypts, which have potential for bioenergy feedstocks, pulp and solid wood. But, before GMO plants like these could be utilized commercially, regulatory agencies and the public will subject them to a lot of scrutiny. For example, we need to be sure that there are no unintended consequences, such as unplanned spread of the modified genes to other non-GMO plants in the environment, or on a farm. So Dr. Strauss and his cooperators do a lot of laboratory and contained field studies on the safety and risks associated with genetically engineered trees, with the focus on methods for preventing their spread until they are more fully understood.

 

Despite the failure of the GMO labeling initiative this year, we certainly have not seen the end of the debate around this issue. So, it’s worth understanding what genetic engineering is and is not, and what the potential benefits and risks of this technology might be. For those who want to read further, I’ll refer you to this website: http://agbiotech.oregonstate.edu/

I think the bottom line (and here I probably ought to invoke a disclaimer*) is that genetic modification may eventually be a management tool, like herbicides, chainsaws, and other tools in your forestry “toolbox”. GMOs are inherently neither good nor bad. The more important questions for forest managers and for society are how, when, and for what purposes they are employed.

Of course, there was another big initiative on the ballot last November. And like GMO’s, the production of marijuana certainly has its intersections with forest ecology and management, as many people in southern Oregon might tell you. But that’s a topic for another day…

*Disclaimer: the opinions expressed on this blog are of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the position of Oregon State University as an institution.

The post Understanding GMOs and forestry appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 12:44pm

We participate in the Oregon State U Food Science Camp for middle school students.

Part of the STEM [science technology engineering math] Academies@OSU Camps.

We teach about bread fermentations, yeast converting sugars to CO2 and ethanol, lactobacillus converting sugar to lactic and acetic acids, how the gluten in wheat can form films to trap the gas and  allow the dough to rise. On the way we teach about flour composition, bread ingredients and their chemical functionalities, hydration, the relationships between enzymes and substrates [amylases on starch to produce maltose for the fermentation organisms]; gluten development, the gas laws and CO2′s declining solubility in the aqueous phase during baking which expands the gas bubbles and leads to the oven spring at the beginning of baking; and the effect of pH on Maillard browning using soft pretzels that they get to shape themselves..

All this is illustrated by hands on [in] activities: they experience the hydration and the increasing cohesiveness of the dough as they mix it with their own hands, they see their own hand mixed dough taken through to well-risen bread. They get to experience dough/gluten development in a different context with the pasta extruder, and more and more.

A great way to introduce kids to the relevance of science to their day to day lives: in our case chemistry physics biochemistry and biology in cereal food processing.

We were also fortunate to have Erik Fooladi from Volda University College in Norway to observe the fun: http://www.fooducation.org/

If you have not read his blog and you like what we do here: you should!

 

endless pasta

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Wed, 07/10/2013 - 12:25pm

pH, colloidal calcium phosphate, aging, proteolysis, emulsification or its loss and their interactions lead to optimum melting qualities for cheeses. A module in this year’s food systems chemistry class.

This module was informed by this beautiful article “The beauty of milk at high magnification“ by Miloslav Kalab, which is available on the Royal Microscopical Society website.

http://www.rms.org.uk/Resources/Royal%20Microscopical%20Society/infocus/Images/TheBeautyOfMilk.pdf

Of course accompanied by real sourdough wholegrain bread baked in out own research bakery.

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

in: The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

Family Food Educators of Central Oregon - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 8:24am

I’m back from maternity leave and getting resettled into some new responsibilities.  We had a staff member leave us, so Glenda and I are having to pick up the work load until we find someone new, or our responsibilites change.  Being a new mom is lots of work too, so I’ve gone part time (24 hours aweek) but am still trying to get everything done… that being said, we’ve decided to put our nutrition education volunteering on hold, until I have a managable workload.

We look forward to being able to start things back up in the summer or fall of 2011.  Thanks so much and since a few of you have been asking, here’s a photo of our boy.  He is 5 months old today!

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs