A Systematic Search of Trends in Rural Development Research: Type of Research, Originating Regions, and Engagement with Sustainability

By Neus (Snowy) Evans, Michelle Lasen and Komla Tsey.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability: Annual Review

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 11, 2014 $US5.00

This systematic search investigates trends relating to quantity and content of research output over the last three decades in rural development research to assess whether the field is growing in a manner that reflects research and policy priorities and wider social trends related to sustainability. Three databases were searched using specific terms to identify relevant articles. Publications were classified into measurement, intervention or descriptive categories and analysed to explore the theme of sustainability. Findings reveal that descriptive research has dominated the rural development field since the 1980s. Research output has shifted from developing to developed regions. The proportion of publications linked to sustainability increased significantly, and the majority of sustainability interventions employed processes of engaging the community and wider stakeholders. The authors consider learning that can be derived from the systematic search process by highlighting four points relevant to policy makers, practitioners and funding bodies in the field.

Keywords: Theme: Sustainability Policy and Practice or Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability, Sustainability, Policy, Practices

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability: Annual Review, Volume 9, 2013, pp.1-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 365.764KB)).

Dr Neus (Snowy) Evans

Senior Research Officer, Centre for Research and Innovation in Sustainability Education, The Cairns Institute and School of Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Dr Neus (Snowy) Evans is employed as a Senior Research Officer across The Cairns Institute and School of Education at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. Her research background and interests lie at the intersection of sustainability, education, resilience and development. Snowy’s PhD, awarded in 2011, explored social resilience to environmental changes through education for sustainability. Her recent work has focused on embedding sustainability in pre-service teacher education.

Dr Michelle Lasen

Senior Lecturer, Centre for Research and Innovation in Sustainability Education, School of Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Dr Michelle Lasen is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and has held roles of Academic Advisor, Graduate Diploma of Education Course Coordinator and Bachelor of Education Course Coordinator. Her primary research interest is embedding sustainability into pre-service teacher education. In 2012, Michelle was awarded a James Cook University Teaching and Learning Academy Fellowship, which seeks to investigate staff and student attitudes and knowledge, and effective teaching and assessment strategies, online technologies and curriculum structures and embedding processes, with regard to Higher Education for Sustainability. Her other research interests include: enhancing engagement and performance in secondary school science, service and work integrated learning in higher education, rural development and population health, and action research and curriculum and systems change.

Prof. Komla Tsey

Tropical Leader/Research Professor of Education for Social Sustainability, Centre for Research and Innovation in Sustainability Education, The Cairns Institute and School of Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Professor Komla Tsey is Tropical Leader/Research Professor of Education for Social Sustainability at The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Australia. Komla comes from Ghana. He studied at the University of Ghana and the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Komla lives in Australia, researching and learning about Aboriginal development, health, education and wellbeing. He continues to undertake long term development research in his native rural Ghana. Komla has written over 100 peer reviewed journal articles on a wide range of development and human wellbeing related topics. He is the author of Re-thinking Development in Africa (Langaa Publishing 2011). His forthcoming book, From Headloading to the Iron Horse (Langaa 2012) examines British railway building in colonial Ghana and the origins of present day international development in the tropical regions of the world.