This week, the focus is on students. As you know this blog was born out of student involvement. Although I wish I was finished with my schooling, that dream is quite far off from becoming a reality. Therefore I know the difficulty that some students come across while researching.

Many of our mentors and advisers do not understand this. Information is easily accessible via the internet and other ICTs, that is the truth and nothing less. However… the disadvantage here is the massive amount of information that is available. Where should we start? Which source is the most relevant?

Where else can I look, online to get the information I need? There is so much information to go through that I’m running out of time. Can I get an extension on my deadline? These are the problems we youth face in data gathering once we are truly exhausting all avenues of research.

The key to avoiding all this is to, manage your time, be aware of where to search and know how to begin searching for information; Start with your library resources and attendants.That’s the purpose of such an institution and the support system it provides. Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are a student’s bread and butter.

What about Wikipedia you ask? It’s frowned upon by universities and academic circles worldwide. The website is not recognized as an official source of information as  ‘ordinary’  everyday people(who just happen to be lacking university degrees and the link) are the ones who gather the information. However Wikipedia stipulates that all sources be referenced. Check out those sources to benefit your research.

Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, and Scribd are also excellent sources. Simple searches at these sites can be of great benefit. When it comes to Agricultural Research the task gets harder. However there are open sources of information available or freely accessible with registration. Here are a few useful ones but there are a whole lot more of them out there. You just have to find them:

Intracen – The International Trade Centre has developed five web portals: Trade Map, Market Access Map, Investment Map, Trade Competitiveness Map and Standards Map to enhance the transparency of global trade and market access and to help users in their market analyses: http://legacy.intracen.org/marketanalysis/Default.aspx
The Statistics Division of the FAO has launched the first version of the new FAOSTAT, which is part of the organization’s mission to improve data collection and dissemination for development and the fight against global hunger and malnutrition. The new platform continues to offer free and easy access to data for 245 countries and 35 regional areas from 1961 through the most recent year available. http://faostat.fao.org/
Research Gate is a professional, university led, social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators.[2] The site has been described as a mash-up of “Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn” that includes profile pages, comments, groups, job listings, and ‘like’ and ‘follow’ buttons for the purposes of crowdsourcing research. http://www.researchgate.net/
The Caribbean Regional Agricultural Policy Network (CaRaPN)
This is a network of friends, professionals and practitioners in government departments, development institutions, the private sector and the retired community, who have a keen interest and stake in promoting and supporting the economic growth and sustainable development of agriculture, in all its various forms and dimensions. We remain, linked-in to agricultural policy matters in the Caribbean through CaRAPN: http://www.pn4ad.org/
e-Agriculture is a global Community of Practice, where people from all over the world exchange information, ideas, and resources related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for sustainable agriculture and rural development: http://www.e-agriculture.org/e-agriculture
AgEcon Search is a free, open access repository of full-text scholarly literature in agricultural and applied economics, including: Working papers, Conference, papers and Journal articles: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/
Ag Research and Databases: A student’s guide

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