Dr Chalmers's PhD, completed in 2003 was entitled the Economic Impact of Gaelic Arts and Culture

The hypothesis which he examined in his doctoral thesis was that there were clear economic impacts within the 'Gaelic Economy' in Scotland arising from art and cultural activity, and more importantly, a whole series of interactions between individuals' involvement with Gaelic arts and culture, and their attitudes on a whole range of issues such as whether they saw the future of the language as positive, whether they wished to educate their children through the medium of Gaelic, whether they saw the development of Gaelic Arts and Culture as crucial to the social or economic development of their own area. A brief executive summary of Dr Chalmers's PhD can be downloaded below, giving more details.

At the time that the main research was undertaken, the surveys carried out were the largest in Europe amongst minority language communities (this survey was also repeated ten years later, which makes the longitudinal comparison particularly valuable). The survey is found below, together with downloadable files of the PhD results for those who may be interested. The longitudinal comparison can be downloaded from the consultancy and research page.

A cautionary tale

Every PhD and the experience of carrying it out is of course different. As mentioned above the PhD survey was large scale - every fourth individual in the thirty two thousand strong Hebridean community was sent the folded A3 optically scannable questionnaire (with 204 questions!). From these eight thousand or so individuals a return of 24% or 2018 extremely detailed questionnaires was received. Scanning these questionnaires and analysing them was extremely time intensive and it was almost two months into the analysis that by chance an anomaly was noticed - the electronic data on one of the questions (scanned by a university technician) was different from the actual hard copy answer. Much to the horror of Dr Chalmers, he went on to discover that there had been a smudge on the scan glass which knocked out of calibration each of the 2018 answers on one particular variable. Bad luck being what it was, it turned out to be the crucial one - level of Gaelic competence! He now claims that the extra month it took to manually re-enter each of the responses for that variable taught him a lot about stress management, zen and karma (although he is unable to specifically identify what he did in a previous life to deserve that).

Anyway, in the hope that the results of his labours might be of interest to you, you can find the summary below and links to each downloadable section:

Executive Summary of the PhD:

  • An Executive Summary of the PhD can be downloaded here

PhD chapter by chapter:

  • The PhD can be downloaded chapter by chapter here
  • The large scale demand side survey can be downloaded here
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