Answered By: Jeffrey Orrico
Last Updated: Feb 01, 2017     Views: 56

A variety of tools are available to identify dissertations and theses relevant to your research.  These online indexes and abstracts have revolutionized the search process.  However, it is much rarer for full-text copies of these student research projects to be available either online or via Interlibrary Loan.  Often, only a single library copy exists, as part of the student’s departmental or university library, and these are seldom lent for off-campus use.  For example, archives of Sacred Heart graduate dissertations and theses are maintained by our library for reference use (in the library only).

Some which have been microfilmed or published by a scholarly publisher (ProQuest, UMI, etc.) are available for individual purchase.  Some are available through the home university’s digital collections.  Occasionally, a researcher or faculty member will post his or her own paper on a personal webpage. 

Our primary databases for dissertations are:

  • Dissertations and Theses  (ProQuest) – citations & abstracts of nearly 3 million dissertations and theses published by ProQuest Dissertation Publishing, from 1861 to the present day.
  • WorldCat Dissertations (OCLC) – Catalog records of more than 8 million dissertations, theses and published material based on theses cataloged by OCLC members, including all subjects.

Several subject-specific databases include dissertations in their abstracts and indexes, including EBSCO’s CINAHL; EconLit; Education Research Complete; Historical Abstracts; Library, Information Science, and Technology Abstracts; and Social Work Abstracts.  The U.S. Dept. of Education’s ERIC database also includes some dissertations and theses, abstracted and sometimes in full-text.

Google Scholar ( is another powerful way to identify dissertations and theses of interest.

When you need to locate a dissertation or thesis in full-text, collect as much information as you can about it:  full name of the author, date of publication, sponsoring department and university, current university or research center affiliation, etc.  This will give you the best and fastest chance of getting what you need.  Ask a reference librarian for help in tracking down copies of ones of interest to you.




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