Statistical Consulting Blog

The Law of the Farm and Your Dissertation

Posted May 3, 2013

agriculture land

Too often in our undergraduate years we’ve learned to cram for school and tests.  You may have procrastinated all semester, and then pulled all-nighters for the final paper or test.  Cramming is antithetical to the law of the farm.  The Law of the Farm essentially says that to be a farmer, you have to plan, till the land, plant, fertilize, water, and then harvest.  Farmers do not, and cannot cram.  They cannot lie around all spring then hit it hard at the end of the summer.  You cannot cram farming.

Dissertations are like farming.  There are a sequence of steps that must be followed—concept papers, proposal meetings, IRB, data collection and analyses, and final defense.  And there are unexpected circumstances such as a change of advisors, delays collecting data, IRB revisions, etc.  There are no short-cuts in this process, and planning is crucial.  I can’t tell you the literally hundreds of students I speak with that need their analysis tomorrow—tomorrow, really?  Sure there are legitimate issues that come up, things took longer than expected, but you know pretty early on that you need an APA editor and a statistician. Why procrastinate?

There are no short cuts in the dissertation process—plan to harvest well by planning all of the steps necessary to accomplish the tasks at hand (our free membership includes a dissertation timeline to help with planning).   Line-up the support you need, put in wiggle room for unexpected events, and get your dissertation completed—there’s a whole lot of wonderful fields ahead of you!

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