When writing a dissertation, the goal of creating original, scholarly research is to add to the body of knowledge. Your first step, therefore, should be to make sure that your proposed study is unique.
You can accomplish this by searching for dissertations similar to your proposed topic in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database. PQDT is the largest single repository of graduate dissertations and theses, with over 3.8 million works from universities worldwide. Use advanced search techniques covered in Searching 101 like subject searching, truncation, and Boolean operators to make your search more precise. You may also read about these search techniques by referring to the Preparing to Search section of our Research Process Guide.
For example, if you are studying the perceptions of elementary school teachers on the inclusive classroom, you could setup the search as shown below:
Researching similar dissertations is not only a way to ensure that you will be contributing original research to the field, but also a great way to see examples of how other students conducted a literature review and used a particular research methodology. Additionally, you can potentially identify a particular test instrument or theoretical framework appropriate for your study, as well as discover scholarly research articles that you may not have come across in your own research.
For additional guidance on using ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, see the following:
Your library may be able to provide access to the dissertation you're looking for. Whether you are looking for a specific graduate work, or want to find out what dissertations or theses have been written on a particular subject, ProQuest provides a variety of tools to help.
Virtually every major research library in the world provides access to the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database through one of several formats:
- ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database (PQDT) - With more than 2.3 million entries, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world. Students, faculty, and other researchers search the database for titles related to their scholarly interests. Of the millions of graduate works listed, we offer over 1.9 million in full text format. PQDT is a subscription database, so consult your library for availability.
- Dissertations & Theses @ - Dissertations & Theses @ is a service for ProQuest’s active university publishing partners. The service provides a university's academic community with free access to citations and abstracts for graduate works from that university. For graduate works published from 1997 forward, a full text PDF will usually be available for free download as well.
- Dissertation Alerts - Dissertation Alerts is an individualized search service for those who lack library access to the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database. Using the keywords you specify, we review the entire database and retrieve up to 500 titles per search. To request a Dissertation Alerts search, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your library does not offer access to the dissertation you're looking for, learn more about dissertation ordering options.