Dissertations, Theses, and the Scholarly Record: Earning a Ph.D. Is Hard Work. No One Is Likely to Disagree with That Thesis Statement. Regardless of the Discipline, Doctoral Students Devote an Enormous Amount of Time Researching Their Topic, Examining Their Data, Collecting Their Thoughts, Writing a Dissertation, and Defending It before a Panel of Professors, Often in the Presence of Their Peers. Librarians Are There to Help with the Process

By Devar, Georgina | Online Searcher, January-February 2020 | Go to article overview

Dissertations, Theses, and the Scholarly Record: Earning a Ph.D. Is Hard Work. No One Is Likely to Disagree with That Thesis Statement. Regardless of the Discipline, Doctoral Students Devote an Enormous Amount of Time Researching Their Topic, Examining Their Data, Collecting Their Thoughts, Writing a Dissertation, and Defending It before a Panel of Professors, Often in the Presence of Their Peers. Librarians Are There to Help with the Process


Devar, Georgina, Online Searcher


"Dissertation" is the word most often used to describe the final written product of a Ph.D. student. The word "thesis" is applied to the culmination of master's-level research studies and, sometimes, at the bachelor's level, although the term "capstone project" is also common for those earning a bachelor's degree. These terms can vary by institution and geolocation, so if a database says it contains dissertations, it's best to ascertain what the database producer means by that.

DISSERTATION ABSTRACTS

The database librarians (and students) think of first when it comes to finding this type of literature is Dissertations Abstracts. Tracing the lineage of the publisher of Dissertation Abstracts resembles an exercise in corporate genealogy. First there was University Microfilms, Inc., soon shortened to UMI, founded by Eugene Power in 1938. It was in 1951 that the Association of Research Libraries approved UMI as the provider of dissertation services, which inaugurated Dissertation Abstracts.

If one follows the corporate genealogical bouncing ball, one encounters Bell & Howell, which bought UMI from Xerox in 1985. It changed the name to Bell & Howell Information and Learning and, due to another acquisition, to ProQuest Company, and then, in a somewhat retroactive move, to ProQuest Information & Learning. When Cambridge Information Group bought ProQuest in 2007 and adopted the ProQuest name for the company, it inherited the dissertations database. The UMI nomenclature lingers as ProQuest UMI Publishing, the arm of ProQuest to which students submit their dissertations and theses.

Dissertation Abstracts, aka Dissertation Abstracts International in print and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) online, focuses primarily on Ph.D. dissertations granted by U.S. universities. The printed version dates from 1938, but the online database has a retrospective file that dates back to 1861. It began adding selected master's theses in 1962 and has included citations for dissertations from 50 British universities since 1988. The U.K. ones are sourced from The British Document Supply Centre. Dissertation Abstracts and Theses also has a limited number of dissertations from outside the U.S. and the U.K., but that is not its strong point historically. It is now concentrating on building up its international scope.

Dissertation Abstracts and Theses, as of the end of 2019, contained some 5 million citations, with about half of those in full text. It is available only on the ProQuest (as Dissertation Abstracts and Theses Global) platform and the Dialog Solutions (as Dissertation Abstracts and Theses Professional) platform, both of which require a subscription. However, a subset is available for free.

PQDT Open (pqdtopen.proquest.com) contains a little more than 48,000 dissertations and theses published between 1951 and 2019. The drop-down menu for date begins with 1951, but the oldest one in the database seems to have been published in 1964, with two in 1970 and one in 1971. Basic search shows a single search box and gives you the ability to limit by date. Clicking on More Search Options allows for limiting by author, title of dissertation/thesis, publication number, school/institution, advisor, and keywords/description. Results can be sorted by relevancy, most recent, and oldest first.

A few dissertations show up in specialized databases. GeoRef contains master's theses and doctoral dissertations from U.S. and Canadian universities in the field of geology. Global Health has some non-English-language dissertations on public health issues. Both INSPEC and PaperChem include some dissertations in their specialty areas. OCLC's WorldCat database has a Thesis/dissertations option to limit by Content as part of its advanced search.

FREE ACCESS TO DISSERTATIONS

EBSCO has a free dissertations database. EBSCO Open Dissertations (opendissertations.com or biblioboard.com/open dis sertations) stems from a print index, Doctoral Dissertations Accepted by American Universities, published by the H. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Dissertations, Theses, and the Scholarly Record: Earning a Ph.D. Is Hard Work. No One Is Likely to Disagree with That Thesis Statement. Regardless of the Discipline, Doctoral Students Devote an Enormous Amount of Time Researching Their Topic, Examining Their Data, Collecting Their Thoughts, Writing a Dissertation, and Defending It before a Panel of Professors, Often in the Presence of Their Peers. Librarians Are There to Help with the Process
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.