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Deepening the structure of student-developed case studies on agroecology and food systems

Authors: Barbara Gemmill-Herren*, Prescott College
Topics: South America
Keywords: agroecology, alternative food systems, case studies
Session Type: Lightning Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual Track 9
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Case studies are a format that are used ubiquitously, and are often assigned to students to apply constructs learned in a course. But in the hierarachy of scientific knowledge, they are often undervalued, as being merely a one-off example, not peer reviewed or validated by other means. In other disciplines such as law and business school, cases are the basis of the material considered by students. At the same time, much of the documentation of agroecology and alternative food systems occurs in the format of case studies. As part of the recent Committee on World Food Security High Level Panel of Experts report on “Agroecology and other Innovations for Food Security and Nutrition”, we worked to bring case studies into a systematic review, to contribute toward documenting trends (and thus not only stand-alone examples). We found that if case studies correspond to certain structures, their utility can increase. We’ve since been using this understanding in giving case study assignments to students.

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