Activity 7: Impact assessment

Responsible Team Member: Nicholas Harrigan

Listen to an interview with Dr Nicholas Harrigan about the progress, key learnings and next steps for Activity 7.

“We are interested in profit and productivity, but they’re not the only things. We want to measure things like quality of life, development of networks and community”.

Dr Nicholas Harrigan


Following establishment of a baseline of on-farm practices (Activity 2 and 3), analysis of household social relations (Activity 4 and 5), and expanded connections amongst farmers and with supporting individuals or organisations (Activity 6), the project will continue to visit households to measure impacts (i.e., continuous monitoring and evaluation). As part of the household interviews and concluding household survey, the social relations of farmers will be re-analysed in order to account for any (dis)connections that occurred since the baseline interactions (Activity 2 and 3). We will establish ‘why’ and ‘how’ household social relations have changed, with reference to the connections made possible by Activity 6 as well as more ‘organically’ through the (dis)connections that the household experienced independent of the project. Participants will be asked ‘who they have discussed their involvement in the project with?’, with those connections followed by the research team in order to account for any secondary impacts resulting from expanded connections (i.e., Activity 6). These connections will, following Activity 6, be revisited to analyse whether the support provided to farmers diffuses through their social relations, and whether those connections resulted in increased awareness, increased intentions to act, or practice change. In addition to farmer-noted indirect diffusion, we will visit with neighbours of participants who have altered their practices to measure the diffusion of practices to neighbours. These household visits will be accompanied by visits with non-participating households in the villages in order to situate any measured impacts, determining whether any observed practice changes are also present in the population. 

Critically, impact analyses will include both knowledge data as well as measurement of on-farm practices (i.e., via field walks) to account for the degree of on-farm practice change (Maredia & Reyes, 2015; Wineman et al., 2020). Critically, we will also extend consideration to practice change that does not eventuate, that is partially implemented, or that prompts adoption of an entirely different practice; such examples, in which information, intention, or practices are considered but ultimately rejected are presently missing from empirical analyses of agricultural extension.

A more detailed outline of the project’s Impact Assessment Framework can be found here.

Sub-Research Questions

RQ7.1: Which model or methods of agricultural extension are most effective (measured by changes to knowledge and/or on-farm practices) with different types of smallholders in Northwest Cambodia?

RQ7.2: Does successful expansion of social relations amongst smallholder farmers result in changes to awareness, intention to act, or on-farm practices amongst extended social relations (i.e., secondary diffusion)?

RQ7.3: Do expanded social relations result in practices that do not eventuate, are partially implemented, or prompt adoption of an entirely different practice?

RQ7.4: What are the social and economic benefits of on-farm practice change for participating farmers and farming households?

RQ7.5: What are the social and economic secondary benefits of diffusion of practice change resulting from the project?

Approaches (Methods)

  • Experimental and quasi-experimental methods for impact assessment
  • Household surveys: baseline and follow up surveys 
  • Household interviews
  • Focus group discussions
  • Field analysis of on-farm practices through ‘farm visits’
  • Social network analyses (tracing, mapping, qualitative)
  • Economic analysis of farm gross margins