As previously mentioned, Umberto Eco’s 1977 book How to Write a Thesis now out in translation from MIT Press – it is reviewed in The Times Higher Education by Robert Eaglestone – thanks to Dean Bond for the link. Here’s the concluding part.
How to Write a Thesis is really: how to be an academic.
This is part of the answer to those who think that focusing on research makes us bad teachers: at their very deepest roots, both research and teaching in universities rely not only on subject knowledge but on the virtues of sincerity and accuracy, taught through research. But there’s more: the paradox – brought into sharp focus by How to Write a Thesis – that even with a PhD, you never properly qualify. Even eminent professors remain, in a way, students for ever, with more to research, more to explore just over there. And the surprising fact is that the people who remember daily the experience of doing research, who know that despite their degrees, titles and fancy hats, they, too, are really only students: these are the best people to teach other students. Whisper it – it’s not politic to say it aloud – but that’s what makes universities special places. Our graduate students intuit this, so help them scale the tower’s walls (so as to toil in the incongruously situated groves) by giving them this book.