Two Decades of Agricultural Literacy Research: A Synthesis of the Literature

Kristin Kovar, Anna Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this investigation was to identify and synthesize research related to agricultural literacy since the publication of Understanding Agriculture—New Directions for Education (1988). The re-searchers sought to determine where agricultural literacy research was published, which populations were targeted, the purpose of the research, and the findings of agricultural literacy studies published between 1988 and 2011. Overall, a total of 49 studies were found - 17 studies in the Journal of Agricultural Education, seven studies in the NACTA Journal, three studies in the Journal of Extension, 18 studies in national or regional American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) conference proceedings, and four miscellaneous studies. The populations targeted in agricultural literacy research were teachers, students, and non-educator adults with elementary teachers and students being the most frequently targeted populations. The purposes of the respective studies were coded into three specific areas: (a) assess agricultural literacy; (b) test the effectiveness of an agricultural literacy program; or (c) develop a framework or guide used to assist educators. While the programs were found to be successful in increasing agricultural literacy, many populations assessed were found to be agriculturally illiterate. Further research is warranted to explain areas of deficiency in agricultural literacy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-178
JournalJournal of Agricultural Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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