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Chris
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Name: Chris
PhD discipline: Languages - Russian
Area(s) of work: Audit; independent writing
Year of graduation: 2005
Date of Interview: 17/06/2008

Chris - the meaning of the PhD
Chris talks about his attitude to his thesis and his area of PhD research.

Has what the PhD means to you personally changed since you completed it? 

I think I have retained more of my interest in the subject I studied than the people who I knew who went into academic jobs. They're forced almost invariably to turn their PhDs into books in order to meet the constraints of the Research Assessment Exercise and during that process most of them end up hating their thesis and they end up seeing it not for what it was – which is the most detailed and microscopic piece of research that anyone could do – but rather as a very bad academic monograph because, of course, the two are not identical. So you didn't write it to be an academic monograph, you wrote it to be a thesis, but now you're being forced to transform it into something it wasn't and that and that's a very painful process for people. I haven't had to do that, I can still pick it up and look at it and glory in all of the enormous list of footnotes and the very specific research and the very acute small-scale points that I was making and the arguments that I was involved in. I still do that from time to time. I also haven't completely given up the idea that I might publish it and I know this varies from academic area to academic area because it may be that your thesis goes out of date very quickly if it's an area that is well trodden by other feet, but in my case it hasn't gone out of date and I still think, you know, I might do something with it, so yeah.