Refereed Journal Articles
Silence is not always golden: Reciprocal peer interviews as a method to engage youth in discussion on violence in Honduras - Williams, R.J.
Abstract: Interviews and focus groups are seminal core methodologies in the social sciences. However, how does a researcher elicit meaningful information when interviews and focus groups result in silence? This problem occurs in many settings but is prevalent when engaging youth, hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations, or when asking sensitive questions. This article discusses the use of reciprocal peer interviewing (RPI) when researching violence in Honduras with vulnerable youth. RPIs are a method wherein participants act in dyads to interview one another without the researcher present. The RPIs conducted for this study resulted in a richness and depth to the interviews through attuning to the influence of a researcher on power, social location, and the social process inherent in a traditional interview process. This article discusses the methodological advantages and disadvantages to the RPI method, arguing that RPIs are a powerful and promising alternative to traditional research methodologies.
Williams, R.J. (2020). Silence is not always golden: Reciprocal peer interviews as a method to engage youth in discussion on violence in Honduras. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2020.1801601
Youth perceptions of violence in Western Honduras - Williams, R.J. and Castellanos, P.
Abstract: Youth violence is a growing challenge worldwide, particularly in countries that are experiencing extreme social disorganisation. This is exemplified in Honduras which has been one of the top five countries in the world for intentional homicides for over 20 years. While many studies have examined youth violence in urban cities, few have researched youth violence in rural zones. This study presents a case study using social disorganisation theory to investigate the perceptions of 40 youth in rural and peri-urban Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras, regarding what drives violence and the potential solutions. Consistent with social disorganisation theory, our results demonstrate that youth view violence as an opportunity pathway resulting from economic deprivation, disruptions to the family and neighbourhood, lack of or poorly functioning external agencies and conflicting moral values. There are significant gender differences in the results, with young men pointing to several issues that challenge masculine hegemonic gender norms such as the desire for love and belonging, participation in education and the role of policing.
Williams, R.J., and Castellanos, P. (2019). Youth perceptions of violence in Western Honduras. Third World Quarterly. DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2019.1672528
An Exploration of Graduate Level Agricultural Leadership Course Descriptions - Muscato*^, A., Sowcik, M., and Williams, R.J.
Abstract: Since its introduction into agricultural education programs in the 1970s, agricultural leadership has continued to change due to the needs of students and trends within the field (Cletzer, et al., 2020; Jones, 2004; Williams, 2007). A single research question guided the study: What is the nature of graduate agricultural leadership courses offered in the United States? This study utilized a qualitative content analysis to capture the meanings, emphasis, and themes of agricultural leadership graduate course descriptions. The frame for this research was established by consulting the American Association of Agricultural Educators member list. University course catalogs were reviewed, and all graduate coursework offered by the agricultural education departments of the identified institutions that included any of the following terms in the title were noted: (a) lead, (b) leader, and (c) leadership. A total of 62 courses from 11 institutions met the criteria. The findings clustered the courses into 21 categories, further compiled into six themes: (1) individual-level focus, (2) organizational-level focus, (3) societal-level focus, (4) professional focus, (5) methodological focus, (6) developmental focus. The findings and recommendations should be considered by agricultural leadership educators as they evaluate how to most appropriately grow their academic programs and coursework.
Muscato, A., Sowcik, M., and Williams, R.J. (2021). An Exploration of Graduate Level Agricultural Leadership Course Descriptions. Advancements in Agricultural Development. 2(2). 125-136.
*Indicates student publication
^Indicates publication from Qualitative Data Analysis class
^Indicates publication from Qualitative Data Analysis class
"If you study, the last thing you want to be is working under the sun:” An analysis of perceptions of agricultural education and occupations in four countries - Jones, K., Williams, R.J., and Gill, T.
Abstract: Agriculture plays a key role in national economies and individual livelihoods in many developing countries, and yet agricultural education and occupations remain under-emphasized in many educational systems. In addition, working in agriculture is often perceived as being less desirable than other fields of study, and not a viable or compelling option for students who have received a post-secondary education. This article explores the historical and contemporary perceptions of agricultural education and occupations globally, and applies themes from the literature to analyze primary data from focus groups with international students studying for university degrees in the United States...
Jones, K., Williams, R.J., and Gill, T.B. (2016). “If you study, the last thing you want to be is working under the sun:” an analysis of perceptions of agricultural education and occupations in four countries. Agriculture and Human Values. 1-11. DOI: 10.1007/s10460-016-9685-4
Refereed Journal Articles In Press and Under Review
The perceptions of rural Honduran youth into the drivers, consequences, and mitigation of undocumented transnational migration - Williams, R.J.
Abstract: In 2011, United States Customs and Border Protection began encountering families and unaccompanied minors at the US/Mexico border, hailing from Central America’s Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Prior to 2011, 98% of migrants at the border hailed from Mexico. By 2018, 52% of migrants at the border were from the Northern Triangle. In 2019 alone, an estimated 709,000 Northern Triangle citizens left their countries en route for the United States. The large number of migrants has sparked a demand to identify the drivers of migration and potential interventions. Most studies on migration from the region focus on urban areas or rely on migrants apprehended at the border. This qualitative study focuses on the western, primarily agrarian, region of Honduras where transnational migration has recently become a livelihood strategy. Using reciprocal peer interviewing, we investigate the drivers of migration and potential areas of intervention from the perspective rural Honduran youth between the ages of 15 and 27. Our results indicate that the drivers of migration are overlapping and compounding and include challenges such as climate change and agricultural collapse, food insecurity, a lack of economic opportunities, political instability, and endemic levels of violence and fear.
Submitted for Review to: Migration and Development
Status: Under review
Status: Under review
Recognizing the Power of Men in Empowerment: The Case of Honduran Lenca and the Need for a Renewed Focus on Women’s Transformational Empowerment - Williams, R.J. and Swisher, M.E.
Abstract: Worldwide, the challenges of growing authoritarianism and increasing gender-based violence threatens the gains made over the past fifty years of gender and development efforts. These challenges reinforce the importance of discourses within feminist and gender and development platforms into what constitutes long-term and sustainable change in women’s transformative agency and resulting empowerment. This study investigates how gender norms have changed at the family and community levels over three generations of indigenous Lenca in Western Honduras. The results of this study reinforce the early conceptualizations of women’s empowerment including a renewed emphasis on the importance of consciousness raising, understanding how family and social structures have ‘power over’ women and require ‘power through’ others, and the importance of understanding locally valued pathways to empowerment. Our case study demonstrates the importance of consciousness raising and empowerment in non-economic domains and the necessity of reducing domestic violence to create sustainable change. Using these results, we reflect on the frailty of changes in women’s agency in the face of a growing backlash against women’s empowerment and the increase of authoritarianism and violence against women worldwide.
Submitted for Review to: Rural Sociology
Status: Under review
Status: Under review
Multi-country analysis of capacity development challenges in livestock systems research - Williams, R.J., Ludgate, N., and Russo, S.
Abstract: Development organizations and agencies use capacity development as a synonym for training, even though evidence shows that solely focusing on training approaches to capacity development is ineffective in the long run. This study compares a training approach for conducting a capacity development gap analysis to the Common Framework on Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems approach in order to investigating blockages to quality livestock research in a food security project. We used interviews, focus groups, participatory workshops, and a cross-case analysis to determine the research related capacity development challenges of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems University partners in Nepal, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Niger, and Burkina Faso. Our results show that a systems-based capacity gap analysis is required to comprehensively identify the technical and functional capacities required for conducting quality research at individual, organizational, and enabling environment scales.
Submitted for Review to: International Journal of Training and Development
Status: Under review
Status: Under review
Selected Peer-Reviewed Technical Papers and Reports
Honduras Rural Livelihoods, Violence, and Migration Study: Summary Report and Recommendations - Williams, R.J., and Vaughan, L.
Excerpt from the Executive Summary: This report provides the results of the Rural Livelihoods, Violence, and Migration Study (RLVS) financed by USAID/Honduras. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between changing rural livelihoods, perceptions of livelihood opportunities, and pathways into violence and migration (rural-to-urban and transnational). The study examines factors underlying drivers of violence and migration in rural and peri-urban populations that can be used by development practitioners in education, youth development, agriculture, gender, and violence mitigation to develop intervention strategies.
Williams, R.J. (2020). Honduras Rural Livelihoods, Violence, and Migration Study: Summary Report and Recommendations. Published by the United States Agency for International Development, Honduras (USAID). Tegucigalpa: Honduras
Excerpt from the Executive Summary: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, collectively known as the “Northern Triangle” of Central America have consistently been ranked in the top five most violent countries in the world as defined by the per-capita intentional homicide rate. Honduras has topped this list every year since 2008, and in all three countries, the homicide rate has been increasing since 2004. The violence in this region has had a negative impact on development, undermining poverty reduction efforts, economic development, governance, health, and social and human capital. These issues also have significant negative impacts on the education system, the ability of youth (particularly young men) to find paid labor, and an overall fear of young men... The increasing levels of violence in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are a growing and pressing issue for citizen security within the region. Reversing it requires community capacity building at multiple levels from building social capital, strengthening institutional capacity, improving economic opportunities, increasing services such as health and education, providing alternatives for youth to escape from intra-household violence, and more. This requires an understanding of the social, economic, political, epistemic, and institutional challenges associated with youth violence risk factors. This paper provides an overview of the current situation in the Northern Triangle, the risk factors for youth violence, current interventions, and the recommendations that have been put forth by various organizations.
Williams, R.J. (2016). Youth violence and citizen security in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Published by the Office of International Research, Education, and Development at Virginia Tech. Blacksburg: InnovATE.
Youth violence and education-based interventions for citizen security in Central America’s Northern Triangle - Williams, R.J.
Excerpt from the Introduction: The increasing level of violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, known collectively as the “Northern Triangle,” has had a significant impact on development in the region. The complexity of this issue makes it particularly difficult to address and requires a closer look at the interplay of violence from the household to transnational levels and across key sectors including economic, social, political, and epistemic sectors.
Williams, R.J. (2016). Youth violence and education-based interventions for citizen security in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Published by the Office of International Research, Education, and Development at Virginia Tech. Blacksburg: InnovATE.
Rethinking interventions: Addressing youth violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle - Williams. R.J.
Excerpt from the Introduction: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, known collectively as the “Northern Triangle,” are considered three of the most dangerous countries in the world as evidenced by intentional homicide rates. The drivers of youth violence in the region are multi-layered and complex. Poverty, high levels of unemployment, low levels of education, social exclusion, the breakdown of social capital and relationships, rapid urbanization, a powerful narcotrafficking trade, and the prevalence of gangs are but some of the many drivers of violence in the region. There have been many interventions focused on youth violence within the region; however, many of these interventions are founded on specific explanations of youth violence. Understanding these explanations of youth violence and a consideration of alternative explanations will lead to more comprehensive strategies to address this issue.
Williams, R.J. (2016). Rethinking interventions: Addressing youth violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Published by the Office of International Research, Education, and Development at Virginia Tech. Blacksburg: InnovATE.
Selected Training Manuals and Materials
Introduction: This manual outlines a 2-week, full-day Qualitative Research Methods course. The format of this manual will follow the suggested agenda and session plans for the 2-week course. Modifications to this course to allow for a 1-week and 3-day format have been included in the Appendices. The course is modularized to allow for facilitators to modify the course as needed. Many words in ALL CAPITALIZATION are placeholders that can be replaced with specific examples. All materials are adaptable to the local context and instructors are encouraged to use and adapt the materials as needed. All materials including the syllabus, agendas, session plans, handouts, and lecture materials are included in this manual. They are also available in PDF and Word form via a zipped folder, which can be accessed through the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab.
Williams, R.J. (2019). Qualitative Research Methods Training Manual. Published by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Gainesville: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.
Introduction: This manual has been developed to assist trainers in developing training materials that are methodologically appropriate for adult learners. The activities presented in this manual are grounded in best practices for adult learning. Each of the activities in this manual is presented as a “generic” activity with the anticipation that it can be modified to fit the subject matter, content, and needs of the trainer. The first part of the manual provides a brief explanation of why a trainer should use participatory methods. It then discusses two primary theories of adult learning, both of which point to the importance of participation in adult learning. The second part of this manual is intended to help the trainer to plan their training events. This includes understanding what the participants actually need for their training and how to turn this into measurable objectives. Tips provided on how to plan for training including many tips and tricks that are the result of many years of experience by the author(s). These tips and tricks will help the trainer to be proactive in their planning and will ensure a high quality and effective training. The third part of this manual provides an explanation of the various kinds of participatory activities structures including the types of learning objectives that are the most appropriate for the activity, how to conduct the activity, how much time the activity will take, and the materials that may be needed. Each activity structure is accompanied by an example of an actual participatory activity.
Williams, R.J. (2019). Participatory training for adult learner’s guide for facilitators and trainers. Published by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Gainesville: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.
Ethics Review Board Guidelines and Reviewer Manual for the Agriculture and Forestry University of Nepal
Introduction: Ethical issues in biological and social research are the serious and fundamental issues influencing behaviors related to customs and moral values of the public. Ethics relies on determining right and judicious activities and guided by moral principles that are existing in the society. It is guided by the concept of human as well as animal right, social and professional responsibilities and beyond. In social and biological researches, it is concerned with the activities proposed in the research is ethical or not. It is primarily concerned with safeguarding the interest of researchers and aims to promote their rights, dignity, values, and responsibilities. This standard operating procedure (SOP) is based on following guidelines: (1) Ethical guidelines for the care and use of animals in health research in Nepal, published by National Health Research Council, 2005. (2) National Health Care Waste Management Guidelines, 2002
Williams, R.J. (2019). Ethics Review Board Guidelines and Reviewer Manual for the Agriculture and Forestry University of Nepal. Published by the Agriculture and Forestry University of Nepal, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Gainesville: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.