A 10-year content analysis to assess research theme areas in agricultural education: gap analysis of future research priorities in the discipline.



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The field of agricultural education relies on multiple research journals to disseminate findings. This study focused on a 10-year content analysis of research published in premier journals in agricultural education. The study ascertained primary research themes, types of research conducted, prolifically published authors, frequently cited authors, and frequently cited referenced works, and discussed how the formation and usage of research in agricultural education has changed from 1997 to 2006. The study sought assistance from agricultural educators to narrow the focus of the study and to ensure study content validity. A conceptual model, based on a thorough review of literature and a focus on the peer discipline areas of agricultural education, guided the study. The study utilized a field study and employed descriptive statistics. Premier agricultural education (AGED) journals were identified: the Journal of Agricultural Education (93%); Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education (67%); Journal of Extension (63%); North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal (48%); Journal of Applied Communications (41%); and Journal of Leadership Education (41%). The study identified primary and secondary research themes, prolific authorship, research methods and types, and frequently cited authors and referenced works in each of the identified premier AGED journals. The research used compiled data, from each of the research journals, to analyze the frequencies and gaps identified in the National Research Agenda [NRA]: Agricultural Education and Communication 2007-2010 (2007). Agricultural education in domestic and international settings: Extension and outreach was the research priority area noted as the most frequently identified in past research and no gaps were identified in the NRA. To continue to strengthen the agricultural education discipline, research from this study should be used to adjust research priority areas in the NRA and on the regional and state levels.