Authoring a PhD Thesis How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Dissertation by Patrick Dunleavy

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he conservative political philosopher Michael Oakeshott
once argued that:

A university is an association of persons, locally
situated, engaged in caring for and attending to
the whole intellectual capital which composes a
civilization. It is concerned not merely to keep
an intellectual inheritance intact, but to be
continuously recovering what has been lost,
restoring what has been neglected, collecting
together what has been dissipated, repairing what
has been corrupted, reconsidering, reshaping,
reorganizing, making more intelligible, reissuing
and reinvesting.^1

Even if we leave aside Oakeshott’s evident antiquarian bias
against any genuine or substantive innovation here, this ‘mis-
sion statement’ is extensive enough. Indeed it is far too large to
be credible in the era of a ‘knowledge society’, when so many
other people (working in professions, companies, cultural and
media organizations, governments, civil society groups or as
independent writers and researchers) also attend to ‘the intel-
lectual capital [of] a civilization’.
This book is written in the hope of somewhat assisting any
of these people who produce longer creative non-fiction texts.
It is especially directed to research students and their advisers
or supervisors in universities. In undertaking or fostering the


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