Inspiring from other sectors
Observational studies are seldom used in agronomy. However, in medical science, it proves to be a powerful complement to randomized control trials (RCT). Gaudino et al. (2020) explain “Observational studies provide important information on temporal trends in disease prevalence or in the adoption of surgical techniques. They can successfully evaluate the association of patient characteristics with outcomes and are key to develop and validate risk models. Observational studies tend to have greater external validity than RCTs, as they enroll a more heterogeneous population and measure the results of surgical interventions in the “real-world” outside of the highly controlled setting of RCTs (examining effectiveness rather than efficacy).” On-farm experimentation is a research and development philosophy that explores the use of observational research in agronomy.