Downloadable Papers

Evaluating for learning and accountability in system innovation: Incorporating reflexivity in a logical framework (2016)

In this paper we argue that when flexibly applied and adapted to capture dynamics typical in systems innovation projects, the Log Frame Approach (LFA) (Gaspar 1999; AusAid 2005; Kaplan 2015) and logical frameworks (Kaplan 2015) have considerable utility to support evaluation for both learning and accountability, and for identifying and addressing institutional logics, which leads to system innovation. We demonstrate this for the case of Primary Innovation, and compare our experiences with the limitations and solutions suggested by Regeer et al. (2016) when applying logic models, logical frameworks, programme theories or theories of change as part of an `adapted accountability framework’.

Evaluating a space for co-innovation: The practical application of nine principles for co-innovation in five innovation projects (2016)

Primary Innovation is a five year collaborative initiative demonstrating and evaluating co-innovation, a systemic approach to innovation addressing complex problems, in five ‘innovation projects’ (active case studies) in different agricultural industries. In defining the elements of co-innovation, Primary Innovation has emphasised nine principles (based on those from Nederlof et al., 2011) which guide activity in the innovation projects. To understand how useful the nine principles were in guiding practice, and their influence on co-innovation, innovation project participants assessed and reflected on: how the principles were applied in practice; issues that arose; how each influenced the project; and how important each principle was perceived as being in influencing project outcomes. Data were captured and summarised in an on-line survey. While each principle added an important element to each innovation project, different contexts and barriers to implementation required them to be applied in different ways and to different degrees. The nine principles should be understood in each individual project’s context because their appropriateness and usefulness were affected by the type of problem being addressed and the stage of the project. It was also evident that they need to be built into the process from the start.

The Growing Extension Patchwork – Not Dying but Morphing! (2015)

Questions continue over the value and role of extension in the Australian Innovation System. This paper explores the rationale for investment in extension and the implications for evaluation of such intervention. It is asserted that investment in extension intervention should be based on how this increases the rate, breadth and effectiveness of change. This then provides the parameters for evaluation of the investment. It is argued that the focus should be on the extension function rather than a specific role of agency. The paper concludes that we need to develop this extension function further and that we need to better evaluate and demonstrate its investment value.

Changing evaluation approaches for extension and education intervention – drivers and institutional responses in Australia(2015)

The increasing pressures on research, development and extension funding agencies and industry bodies mean that there is an increasing demand to better evaluate and report the effectiveness of projects and programs being funded or undertaken. This paper describes these pressures and the approach taken by some agencies and bodies to respond to this need. Presented at the European Seminar on Extension and Education, Wageningen, The Netherlands 2015.

Reef Water Quality Protection Plan – Extension and Education Strategy Update and Implementation Guide (2014)

This Extension and Education Strategy Update (developed for the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan 2013 by Dr Jeff Coutts) provides a framework for a common understanding of the role and practice of education and extension for this purpose and to facilitate cooperation and collaboration between stakeholders to maximise Reef Plan outcomes within available resources. It updates the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan Extension and Education Strategy 2010 and provides guidance on its implementation.

Evaluating a Co-innovation Policy Initiative in New Zealand (2014)

This paper describes a methodology to evaluate the process and impact of applying a “co- innovation” approach in the New Zealand Agricultural Innovation System. It was delivered at the 11th European International Farming Systems Symposium, Berlin April 2014.

Lining up the Ducks – Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting (2014)

This presentation was to the Australasian Evaluation Society in Perth in 2014. It goes through the need and rationale for a consistent monitoring and evaluation framework for organisations – particularly those who fund or deliver RD&E projects.

Synergy Matrix (2006)

The Synergy Matrix is an evaluation tool which teases out the different niches and contribution of a range of projects and overlapping initiatives to achieving mutual outcomes. This downloadable PDF is from a presentation given by Jeff Coutts to the Australasian Evalaution Society in Brisbane on the 8th August 2006.

Evaluating success in achieving adoption of new technologies (2005)

This paper was written for an invited presentation at the NSW DPI and Beef CRC Conference “Moving from Research to Adoption” Quality Nautilus Resort, Coffs Harbour NSW 3-5th May 2005. It includes a modified Bennett’s log frame to help in framing an evaluation and draws on some practical examples of how to collect and collate relevant data.

Cooperative Venture in Human Capacity Building Fact Sheets (2004/5)

These fact sheets emerged from the Cooperative Venture in Human Capacity – a joint Rural Development Corporation initiative – to pool resources to look at this generic area of interest. Some fact sheets came out of projects in which Coutts J&R participated.

Review of the BSES PROSPER and SRDC BSS260 (2004)

Review Panel (25 May 2004): Dr Jeff Coutts (Director, Coutts J&R), Mr Ray McDowall (General Manager, Mulgrave Mill), Mrs Desley Vella (Cane Grower,Babinda), Mr Chris Sounness (DPI Victoria)

Human Capacity building through extension and education in RipRap (2003)

Published in the River and Riparian Lands Management Newsletter (Edition 24 2003 Land & Water Australia Canberra) for the Cooperative Venture for Capacity Building and Innovation in Rural Industries.

Extension Models and Best Practice in Extension (2003)

Authored by Jeff Coutts and Kate Roberts (Roberts Research & Evaluation) for a project commissioned by Capacity Building for Innovation in Rural Industries Co-operative Joint Venture.

Publication List

2010 – Current

  • Coutts J. Botha N and Turner J A (2014) Evaluating a Co-innovation Policy Initiative in New Zealand in Proceedings of Farming Systems Facing Global Challenges, 11th European International Farming Systems Symposium, Berlin April 2014 [PDF available]
  • Warren Hunt, Colin Birch, Jeff Coutts & Frank Vanclay (2012): The Many Turnings of Agricultural Extension in Australia, The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension,18:1, 9-26
  • Hunt, W.D., and Coutts, J. (2009). Extension in tough times – addressing failures in public and private extension, lessons from the Tasmanian wool industry Australia. Journal of Agricultural Education & Extension, 15 (1), 39-55
  • Hunt ,W,, Vanclay, .F, Birch, C., Coutts, J., Flittner, N. and Williams, B. (2011). Agricultural extension: Building capacity and resilience in rural industries and communities. Rural Society, 20:2, 112 – 127
  • Coutts J & Roberts K (2011) Theories and approaches of Extension: Review of Extension in Capacity Building, in Jennings, J; Packham, R and Woodside D Eds (2011) Shaping Change: Natural Resource Management, Agriculture and the Role of Extension. Australia: Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN)
  • Roberts K & Coutts J (2011) Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting of Extension, in Jennings, J; Packham, R and Woodside D Eds (2011) Shaping Change: Natural Resource Management, Agriculture and the Role of Extension. Australia: Australasia Pacific Extension Network (APEN)
  • Botha C A J & Coutts J (2011) Moving Change to the Top of the Agenda – learning from the on-ground decision makers, accepted for publication in South African Journal of Agricultural Extension (SAJAE) Volume 39, 2011
  • Hossain D, Gorman D, Eley R, Coutts J: Value of mental health first aid training of advisory and extension agents in supporting farmers in rural Queensland. Rural Remote Health; 2010 Oct-Dec;10(4):1593

2000 – 2009

  • Hossain, D. Gorman, D. Eley, R. Coutts, J. (2009). Farm Advisor’s reflections on Mental Health First Aid training. The Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health 8(1)
  • Hunt W & Coutts J (2009) Extension in tough times – addressing failures in public and private extension, lessons from the Tasmanian Wool Industry, in Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, Vol. 15, No.1, 39_55, March 2009
  • Hossain, D., Eley, R., Gorman, D., and Coutts, J. (2008). Mental Health of Landholders in Southern Queensland – issues and support, AJRH,16:343-348
  • Botha N, Coutts J & Roth H (2008) The Role of Agricultural Consultants in New Zealand in Environmental Extension, Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, Vol. 14, No. 2, 145_158, June 2008
  • Botha N and Coutts J (2006) Extension and Consultancy – current thinking, Primary Industry Management Journal New Zealand
  • Coutts J, Ocenar R D, Brillantes Jr A B, Cuthbertson S (2006) Training as an Intervention to Enhance Agricultural Extension Effectiveness in a Devolved Setting: The Case of Leyte, in Brillantes Jr AB, Ocenar RD & Tumanut MA (Eds) Devolved Agricultural Extension Services in the Philippines: Trials and Triumphs – Cases from Frontline Local Governments, Center for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG), University of the Philippines, Quezon City, The Philippines
  • Coutts J (2005) Evaluating Success in Achieving Adoption of New Technologies, NSW DPI and Beef CRC Conference “Moving from Research to Adoption” Quality Nautilus Resort, Coffs Harbour NSW 3-5th May 2005
  • Coutts J & Roberts K (2003) Extension Models and Best Practice, APEN Extension Conference, Hobart November 2003
  • Coutts J (2003) Capacity Building through Extension, in RipRap, the River and Riparian Lands Management newsletter, Land & Water Australia, Canberra
  • Coutts J, Douglas J & Campbell A Cooperation, collaboration and common sense – towards a National Extension Framework for Australia, refereed Proceedings of the 3rd Australasian Pacific Extension Conference Toowoomba October 2001

Pre 2000

  • Coutts J & Paine M (eds) (1999) Special Australasian Pacific edition of The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 1999 vol. 6, no 2
  • Coutts J (1999) Extension Practice in Australia – facing 2000 (Key Note address) Proceedings of Central Queensland Extension Conference, Yeppoon May 1999
  • King, K, Coutts, J and Jiggins, J (1998) Unearthing paradox as a focus for facilitating rural sustainability Proceedings (Vol 2) 15th AFSRE International Symposium 29 November -4 December Pretoria
  • Coutts J (1998) A Farming Systems Approach to increased use of Integrated Pest management in the Australian Cotton industry* in Proceedings of the Third Symposium on Rural and Farming Systems Analyses: Environmental Perspectives. Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Germany, 25-27 March 1998
  • Coutts J (1997) Communications into the New Millennium (Key Note Address) in Proceedings of 1998 National Soil Acidification Conference, Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
  • Coutts J Changes in Extension – an Australian Perspective: the coming of age of extension (Key Note address) in Proceedings of the 2nd Australasia Pacific Extension Conference on Managing Change: building knowledge and skills, Albury, NSW APEN 18-21 Nov 1997, Vol II pp 22-32