Graduate Environmental and Agricultural Research (GEAR): A Guide to Effective and Relevant Graduate Research in Africa

This book is meant for young African scholars; it is a guide for their graduate study which should prepare them for their leadership roles in helping to solve the problems of African farmers. This book is written as a reference and guide to graduate research and the production of their theses. Examples from the continent are used to highlight some of the issues facing the graduate research student. It emphasizes that the student should be aware of the big picture, and to realize that s/he is not operating in isolation. We are all part of a community and indeed of a global world that is changing rapidly and we must learn to adjust in order to cope with the changing needs of society.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Central Africa
East Africa
Southern Africa
Agris Subject Categories: 
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Printed resource

GEAR is a revised edition of the 2004 publication, "The Green Book: A Guide to Effective Graduate Research in African Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development", which will also be found in the RUFORUM Institutional Repository. The full version of GEAR is attached with this record, including the appendices.  Each section includes a bibliography of resource materials, some of which are on the Internet or included in the files below.  The book, which is divided into more than one file, includes the files listed below.  If you are uncertain of which chapters are most relevant to your needs, look at the table of contents in front matter first.


Front Matter: the title page, copyright information, the table of contents, acknowledgements, and the forward.


Part 1: "Your Research in Perspective" (the many research issues that students must deal with throughout their careers)


Part 2: "How to Approach Academic Research" (how to get started, select a topic, and develop and write-up a thesis in a way that meets academic requirements)


Part 3: "Research Tools and Data Sources" (an introduction to important ideas, concepts, and methods pertaining to research data)


Part 4:: "Data Management and Analysis" (all of the steps you must take to look after and process data, from observation in the field, to the end of the study and thereafter).


Part 5: "Completing Your Thesis" (the steps you must take to write a clear, concise, comprehensive, and understandable thesis)


Appendix 1: "The Craft of Research," a PowerPoint presentation based on a 1995 book of the same title by W.C. Booth et al.  (covers why do research, benefits of writing and publishing, understanding and connecting with readers, hypotheses and conceptual methods, and research ethics)


Appendix 2: "Innovation, Problem Solving, and Operational Research Strategies," a PowerPoint presentation by Paul Woomer (an introduction to the developmental research continuum--elements of creative, interdisciplinary, developmental research, participatory approaches, scientific and social benefits of research, etc.)


Appendix 3: "Designing Research around Client Needs and Anticipated Impacts," a PowerPoint presentation (research and development models, using two case studies-one on backstopping an NGO and the other on water hyacinth utilization)


Appendix 4: "Preparing and Refining a Research Proposal," a PowerPoint presentation (tips for Inexperienced Scientists, a PowerPoint presentation (proposal formats, strengthening elements, internal continuity, funding targets, know your donors, grantee ethics)


Appendix 5: "Science Writing for Agricultural Research Scientists," a training reference manual by Paul Stapleton, Anthony Youdeowei, Joy Mwkanyange, and Helen Van Houten, 1995 (the procedures and techniques for writing and publishing research results)


Appendix 6: "Publication as an Output of Science," PowerPoint presentation (summary of issues pertaining to publishing)


Appendix 7: "The Art and Ups and Downs of Science Publishing," PowerPoint presentation by Adipala Ekwamu (benefits, tools and forms of science publishing)


Appendix 8: "L’Approche de Promotion des Initiatives et Inovations Paysannes (PAIIP) à Aguié au Niger : Faire de la Recherche Avec et Pour les Paysans," by Aissétou Dramé Yayé (a report in French on partnerships with farmers)


Appendix 9: "Research Data Management," by Peter Muraya, Cathy Garlick, and Richard Coe, World Forestry Centre, 2002 (a description of the research data management training course given by the World Forestry Centre broken down by session-with lecture notes and exercises)


Appendix 10: "Data Analysis of Agroforestry Experiments, World Forestry Centre, 2002 (training materials prepared to help present a series of courses on the analysis of data from agroforestry experiments.  The aim is to assist others give similar training.)


Appendix 11: "Genstat Discovery Edition for Everyday Use," by Wim Buysse, Roger Stern, and Ric Coe, World Forestry Centre, 2004 (guide to using Genstat)


Appendix 12: "Give Us a Chance: Research Students and Communities," by Joseph Opio-Odongo (short paper on how to interact with and listen to local communities)


Back Matter: contributors and biographies, acronyms and abbreviations, and list of appendices


This publication is licensed under a Creative Commons license--CC BY-NC-SA 3.0, which allows users to share and adapt for non-commercial purposes. For more information, go to: