Category Archives: Research

@AgTechLaura has a great new step-by-step article to improve your #dataviz :

Laura Thompson from Nebraska Cooperative Extension is a data visualization fellow for eXtension. Her latest article shows a great makeover of her own data visualization of change (or in her case, a lack thereof) over time. Many of her principles apply the same to spatially-based visualizations, which I discuss myself here: Visualizing Spatially-based data for Various Stakeholder Audiences.

I’m pleased to see her explicitly mention the meaningful title, which I think applies to all situations where you need a title, including journal articles and presentations. Another friend, Jessica Keune, has a great example of this in her latest article: Bone Marrow Adipose Tissue Deficiency Increases Disuse-Induced Bone Loss in Male Mice. Now I know immediately what she studied and what the result is, in what organism.

I still struggle with this, especially in my conference abstracts, at least the ones where I am submitting months before I’ve actually gotten a chance to analyze the data … any tips for that are welcome!



Leave a comment

Filed under data visualization, Extension, Research, Resources

GEO students present research at local undergraduate conferences #nsf #ugresearch #geoscience

Two of our Santa Fe College undergraduates from the 2016 Geoscience Engagement and Outreach program (joint SF/UF/Orlando Science Center, NSF awards 1540724 and 1540729) just presented their research at local conferences:

Diego Sanchez, my mentee, presented a poster at the Santa Fe Research in Undergraduate Education festival. He took second place. DiegoREU2017_ 2

Samantha Allen presented her work with mentor Cori Matyas in a poster at the Southern Regional Honors Council.


Samantha and Diego are finishing their studies at Santa Fe and transferring to four-year programs. They also continue to work with this year’s cohort of students. Great job!

Leave a comment

Filed under GEO, publications, Research, undergraduate research

New TIDESS project website!

We are rocking and rolling now on my NSF AISL project, now called Touch Interaction for Data Engagement on Spherical Screens (formerly Think Globally, Interact Locally). So we have our own website for it, with blog posts from many of our six (!) students working on the project.

Here are a couple of earlier posts on the project before the new site launched:

Our related tabletop study – posts by Annie Luc, undergraduate researcher

some of our pilot work – post by me and Lisa Anthony, co-PI from Computer Science

Leave a comment

Filed under Research, TIDESS, undergraduate research

A grad student collaborator’s conference update – from last summer (oops) #proflife

As I get started in my career as a professor (ok, it’s been almost 4 years but it’s a little different as a research prof than someone on the tenure track), I have been starting to work with some graduate students when I have the funding. I encourage them to write blog posts to share the work we are doing. And … then I fail to post them. So this is a post from last fall from Heather Keown, AEC Master’s student, who went to the Rural Sociological Society conference in Toronto last summer. She shared a poster of our work on social network analysis with regional farmers. Here is her post:

“What an experience this has been! Early this week, I had the opportunity to travel to Toronto, Ontario for the 79th Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society to present a portion of our Who’s Connected research in the form of a poster. I talked about how the producers who came to our focus groups define sustainability and how they believe sustainability could be accomplished. I also talked about how we saw regional differences when it came to these two topics. 

I was inspired and overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback our research received while talking to attendees that stopped by the poster session. I talked mainly to sociologist from other universities around the States and Canada. I found that most everyone I talked to was excited to hear about how the producers themselves defined sustainability. It was stated many times that there is no one good definition for what sustainability means, and we were praised for going to the producers rather than using a “book” definition. Another general theme I saw was everyone’s interest in the regional differences we saw within the one system. A couple of questions that were asked were: “Why do you think these differences are occurring?” and “Why do you think the Gainesville area is rejecting the ideals of traditional sustainable farming practices (or co-oping) ?”

I also talked a bit about how this part of our research was used to create a social network analysis survey in order to allow us to actually see how producers in the system were talking to each other and to identify the key figures within the system. This again was another area everyone seemed to love! They were excited to hear about a network that could potentially be sustained by the producers and were interested in how extension would play a role in this. A few faculty members stated how their states seemed to have a similar program but most were led by industry companies who still had an “agenda” while helping the producers.

While it was awesome to receive so much positive feedback, I believe the most interesting conversations I had were about the cultural aspect of these producers. The producers we talked to only mentioned the environmental, financial, and human aspects of sustainability, but none mentioned how being a sustainable farmer culturally affected them. It was suggested by two people that if we were to further this research that we look into this component. They suggested that this may have to do with the regional differences as well.

All in all, this was a great conference. I was nervous going into it, especially since it was my first research conference, but I loved talking to everyone about the research we are doing. I knew our research had great significance, but I am even more excited to finish out our social network analysis and receive feedback after our event in September.”  

Funding for the project from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Foundation ended in October, and I have been working on publishing the results from the focus groups and social network analysis. Heather finished her classes and has been student teaching this semester. She will graduate at the end of this month.

Leave a comment

Filed under Research

Free-choice learning/informal education journals #sciengage #infscience #scicom #scicomm

Here’s a sometimes-updated list of journals I use for Free-choice learning and informal (science) education. AKA nonformal education (See my article Stofer, 2015 for more info on these terms) in the Cooperative Extension world. Please share and/or comment with suggestions!

Public Understanding of Science

International Journal of Science Education, Part B

Science communication:

Science Communication

Journal of Science Communication


Visitor Studies

Science Museum Journal

Museums and Social Issues


Journal of Museum Education

Broad Science Education:

Science Education

Journal of Research on Science Teaching

Education Science

STEM Education/research/outreach:

Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research

Journal of Research in STEM Education

Journal of STEM Outreach

Connected Science Learning (connects “formal” and “informal” settings)


Afterschool Matters


National Science Teachers Association: Journals for teaching Children, Middle School, High School, and College Students

Science Educator

The Ag Ed Magazine

Agricultural Education and Extension:

Journal of Agricultural Education

Journal of Human Sciences and Extension

Community Engagement (also see this document):

Journal of Higher Education and Outreach

Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

International Journal for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement

Environmental Education:

Journal of Environmental Education

International Journal of Environmental and Science Education

Environmental Education Research

Environment and Behavior

Experiential Education:

Journal of Experiential Education

Inspired by these lists of Science Education Journals:


Leave a comment

Filed under Research, Resources

New paper on citizen science in college classes published in JCOM!


For part 1 of a special issue on Citizen Science in the Journal of Science Communication, collaborators in Entomology at UF and beyond had their undergrads participate in citizen science as part of a general education course. We investigated what they learned (sort of, as it was hard to disentangle from overall learning in the course), but perhaps more importantly, we investigated how their perceptions of science changed. The latter is arguably a more interesting outcome from a general education course aiming to introduce science or a specific science to non-scientists. Check it out!


Leave a comment

Filed under Research, Uncategorized

No data is too obvious to publish

One of the main goals of the UF Ag-STEM lab is to help re-connect what have become separate, siloed disciplines: science and agriculture. I have a research publication out about the potential to do that in science centers:

I was also interviewed a couple of times about the associated UF press release:

Brownfield Ag Radio

Agritalk Radio (link is to a podcast from a local station. is the show’s page)

It’s funny, I thought this would be just one of those pretty obvious results (and I think it was), but it turned out to be pretty important. Sometimes we beat ourselves up trying to do massively innovative things, when there is often still room for some fundamental data collection and analysis.

Thank goodness, too, for great little journals that will publish these sorts of things!

Leave a comment

Filed under Ag-STEM, Research