Agricultural Issue Analysis

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Agricultural Issue Analysis. What is an Issue? How does a Problem Become an Issue? Analyzing an Issue Gathering Information about an Issue Determining the Risks Techniques for Analyzing the Issue Evaluating Sources of Information Professionalism Standard
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Agricultural Issue AnalysisWhat is an Issue?How does a Problem Become an Issue?Analyzing an IssueGathering Information about an IssueDetermining the RisksTechniques for Analyzing the IssueEvaluating Sources of InformationProfessionalism StandardTechniques for Preparing the Issue for DiscussionWhat is an Issue?According to Webster’s New International Dictionary, an issue is, “a point in debate or controversy on which the parties take affirmative and negative positions; a presentation of alternatives between which to choose or decide; the point at which a matter is ready for, or admits of, decision”.What is an Issue? (con’t)For the purposes of this material, an issue serves as the foundation for a particular argument. For example, in the current public debate concerning the affect agriculture is having on the environment, one primary issue is that of global warming — “Are the animals/livestock which are raised for food causing an overabundance of methane gas?”To MainHow does a Problem Become an Issue?Debate is a means of settling differences. There must be a difference of opinion or a conflict of interest before there can be a debate. This difference of opinion is often called a controversy or a problem.When an individual or group of individuals come in contact with something they take a positive or negative view towards, they have created an issue and in order for the issue to be resolved, a thorough analysis of the issue is needed.To MainAnalyzing an Issue
  • Each issue should be stated as a question. It should make a single statement about a single thing, for example, “Is the use of agricultural pesticides contaminating our ground water?”
  • The question should be expressed in such a way as to be fair to both sides.
  • Define the terms in the question so that they will be clear, convincing and consistent with the origin and history of the question.To MainGathering Information about an Issue
  • Recall your personal experiences.
  • Visit the concern.
  • Talk with someone who knows.
  • Listen and read.
  • Use the library.
  • To MainDetermining the RisksLife is full of risks. Even the everyday things we do are inherently risky. Going to work, exercising, playing, sleeping, drinking and eating all carry certain risks that we choose to accept in our daily lives.While most people avoid taking unnecessary risks, daily we must evaluate whether the benefits to be gained from a particular risk or course of action outweigh the hazards associated with this action.Determining the Risks (con’t)People are demanding and gaining a greater voice in decisions about risk.Much of the information people get about risk comes from the mass media. The media collect, interpret, and transmit information about the technical, political, and societal implications of risk.We must do a better job of assessing and managing the risks of everyday life, especially those associated with new technologies.Determining the Risks (con’t)We must be ready to persuade people that eliminating risks is an impossible goal.We must be sure that we are willing to do everything in our power to minimize the risks that the public is asked to face.The only long-term solution is to educate and empower people so that they will be able to make the best (that is, the most well-informed) decisions about risk in their own lives.To MainTechniques for Analyzing the IssueYour success in analyzing the issue will depend on your ability to find answers to the following questions:
  • Why is this issue important now?
  • What is the nature of the issue?
  • Who is involved in the issue?
  • How can the issue be defined?
  • What is the historical background of the issue?
  • Techniques for Analyzing the Issue (con’t)
  • What caused the issue?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the benefits?
  • Is there strong agreement as to how the issue should be solved?
  • To MainEvaluating Sources of InformationTo be an intelligent reader and listener, you must be able to evaluate sources. You can test sources by asking questions such as these:
  • Does this source have a reputation for accuracy? Does this newspaper print the facts about events exactly as they occurred? Are the facts printed in this Web site, magazine or pamphlet verified by reports from other sources? Have the authors of this book checked their facts with care?
  • Evaluating Sources of Information (con’t)
  • Is this source biased? Does the source distort the facts to fit his preconceived ideas? Does this magazine present only one side of a controversy? Does this newspaper “color” the news by printing those items favorable to a particular set of interests or political party? Have the people I interviewed shown a bias because of the company for which they work or the causes in which they believe?
  • Evaluating Sources of Information (con’t)
  • Is this information complete? Am I given all the facts? Are some facts being withheld? Have I checked every possible source of information?
  • To MainProfessionalism StandardThe purpose of the Agricultural Issues Forum is to present a current issue to a public audience; therefore, professional ethics and standards should be considered.Dishonesty has no place in the presentation of the issue. Dishonesty is not only ignoring truthful information, falsifying needed information, using an unreliable source, but also plagiarism.Remember, the goal of the presentation is to present both sides of an issue with as current and accurate information as possible.To MainTechniques for Preparing the Issue for Discussion
  • What do the terms of the issue mean?
  • What is the nature of the issue?
  • What are the facts of the present situation?
  • How can the present situation best be described?
  • What is going on?
  • Who is involved?
  • What kinds of difficulties exist?
  • Techniques for Preparing the Issue for Discussion (con’t)
  • When did the issue develop?
  • Where is the issue most serious?
  • Have I presented enough factual information to make the nature of the issue clear?
  • How serious is the issue?
  • Is the issue extensive?
  • Is a change urgent?
  • Is the issue increasing/decreasing in importance? Why?
  • Techniques for Preparing the Issue for Discussion (con’t)
  • What are the causes of the issue?
  • What is the history of the issue?
  • What conditions brought it about?
  • What forces are at work to change the present situation?
  • What solutions have been tried?
  • How extensive have these attempts been?
  • How successful have these attempts been?
  • Techniques for Preparing the Issue for Discussion (con’t)
  • Is there need for additional attempts to solve the issue?
  • What will be the probable results if no action is taken?
  • To what extent does this group agree on a course of action?
  • On what matters are members agreed?
  • On what matters are members disagreed?
  • What are the controversies which must be worked out?
  • Techniques for Preparing the Issue for Discussion (con’t)
  • What standards, criteria, or goals must any solution to the issue meet?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the benefits?
  • In what kind of world do I want to live?
  • What ideals must a solution satisfy?
  • Techniques for Preparing the Issue for Discussion (con’t)
  • What courses of action are possible?
  • What is one possible solution?
  • What is good about this possibility?
  • What is bad about this possibility?
  • What is another possible solution? etc.
  • Summarize your Pro’s and Con’s on the issue analyzed.
  • To Main
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