farmer mgt styles, Vivica Kraak (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 18:10:24 -0700
From: John Butcher <jeb@cc.usu.edu>
Subject: farmer mgt styles, Vivica Kraak

       I hesitate to repond to this material.  I am professor emeritus at
Utah State Unversity, grew up in the poverty of the depression and drought
in SE Montana and still own land there, and I have experience in foreign
consulting.  I also have a some background in applied statistics.
        I would suggest reviewing the "scientific method" carefully before
beginning (you can a good review of the scientific method on the Internet).
        I could anticipate spending years to gather enough data from
observation and visiting the natives to be able to state a hypothesis.  Do
not get too discouraged from what I just wrote, sometimes you have the
original problem solved before you get to stating an objective to be
researched.  It may be true that it is hard to get research published
without stating a problem, gathering the data and doing a statistical
analysis.  However if the variability is great, especially on data that is
collected over time (especially years), the reasons for the variability may
become more important than any differences among means.  
        So, would I suggest not doing this?  No.  If it is important enough
(to whom?), an observerational study may be justifed.  I would also warn
about the people doing the study making a very major attempt to eliminate
bias.  (Sometimes my colleagues and I did research and the results did not
agree with our preconceived thoughts.  Bias is very hard to eliminate, but
make a major effort to be honest.)
        Another caution.  It may be that some of the activities of the
people studied may be justified for the environment that they are in.  I
feel that I have learned much from people that I have met that had lived in
a land area for years, maybe generations.  I feel that we have lost much
when we did lose the long time adapted plants and animals (and humans)  in
certain areas.  
        Don't worry about what I have said.  One of the great and wonderful
things about young people, at least young in thought, is:  "They often do
not know that it can't be done."  Pardon the double negative.
John Butcher, 1703 E 1030 N, Logan, UT 84341 
Registered ICC User
check out http://www.usefulware.com/~jfoltz