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Power Researcher Challenge

Welcome to Day 3 of the Power Researcher Challenge!

Theses and dissertations represent the culmination of scholarly and creative work undertaken by many students at their college or university. They can serve multiple purposes:

  • as model approaches to layout, methodology, and theoretical underpinnings of an issue/topic/problem
  • as insights into recent scholarship that may not yet be published as books, book chapters, or journal articles (helping you stay apprised of trending or cutting edge research!)
  • as rich bibliographical sources to explore and/or mine, given their lengthy list of references

Did you know?
Just like the myriad streaming services you might use to watch your favorite shows, there's no one-stop shop for all theses and dissertations. There are many places you can search for this type of research, depending on what you're looking for. Let's explore some together!

Let's get started!

1. Go to ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

2. Search for dissertations and theses in your field or discipline, or in a field/discipline that interests you. Consider limiting your results to a timeframe of interest.

3. Look at the abstract of one of the items in your results list, to get a sense of the work.

Note: In addition to the abstract, most theses or dissertations published after 1997 will be available full text. 

4. Find and save the permanent link to a dissertation of relevance to your work.

Pro Tip: you can save a link to a thesis or dissertation, in order to return to them at a later time, by using the permanent link available on the Abstract/Details page. The permanent link is called "Document URL." Here's what it will look like:

example of a permanent link

Here is an example of a permanent link to a dissertation in the ProQuest database: Effect of Internet and Conventional Advertisement Exposure on Electronic Cigarette Use among Adolescents: Findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

Did you know?
Beyond ProQuest, there are many places to find dissertations and theses, 
including those that are freely accessible and do not require a subscription to access. Open access theses and dissertations may be of particular interest to those of you who leave the university setting at some point, and/or those of you who work with community partners who may not have access to the library's subscription resources. Several options are included in the lists below.

For example, there are University of Maine theses and dissertations

  • University of Maine Theses and Dissertations (2001-present): DigitalCommons@UMaine, the University of Maine's open access institutional repository, provides the full text to a large number of UMaine's electronic masters theses and doctoral dissertations (ETD), primarily from 2001-present, but with scattered theses that have been scanned retrospectively by special request. Note: some theses and dissertations are embargoed for a short period of time and not yet freely available without a UMaine login.
  • University of Maine Theses and Dissertations in URSUS (1876-present): All theses and dissertations by academic scholars at UMaine dating back to 1876 can be found in URSUS, the University of Maine's online catalog, including those that are not available in DigitalCommons@UMaine. To access a thesis or dissertation that is not available electronically, see your options here
  • University of Maine Honors College Theses in DigitalCommons@UMaine: Here you'll find undergraduate theses completed by Honors College graduates. Note: some departmental theses are note included.

And, theses and dissertations produced outside the University of Maine

  • DART-Europe E-theses Portal: Access to over 700,000 European theses and dissertations.
  • Global ETD Search: Search approximately 6 million theses and dissertations via the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations database.
  • Open Access Theses and Dissertations: Resource for finding open access graduate theses and dissertations published around the world. Metadata (information about the theses) comes from over 1100 colleges, universities, and research institutions. OATD currently indexes over 5 million theses and dissertations.
  • EBSCO Open Dissertations: Created from a collaboration between EBSCO and BiblioLabs, Open Dissertations is a free electronic theses and dissertations database offering access to more than 800,000 ETDs. Includes electronic access to records of dissertations accepted by American universities from 1933-1955. There is no full text. For full text, you can place an Interlibrary Loan request.
  • PQDT Open: Full text of ProQuest's open access dissertations and theses, from 1951-present.
  • Theses Canada Portal: The collection contains both microfiche and electronic theses and dissertations that are for personal or academic research purposes, from participating Canadian universities.
  • WorldCat: This online catalog includes materials held by over 72,000 libraries worldwide, and includes citations to dissertations and theses primarily outside of UMaine (although UMaine theses are cataloged here, too). To find dissertations or theses, go to Advanced Search, enter relevant keywords in one field. In a separate field, enter the word "dissertation" or "thesis" or "theses" or "dissertations" and select "Subject" from the dropdown menu. You can place an Interlibrary Loan request for a thesis or dissertation within your WorldCat results that UMaine does not own.

BONUS Challenge: Explore one of the databases above! Take a moment to explore one or more of the databases outside the University of Maine, particularly those that will provide international lenses on issues of interest to you. Consider what other scholars are studying, and how they're approaching their research, in ways that may inform your own scholarly practice.

Preparing for your next challenge

Great job! You now know how to find a wide range of theses and dissertations, which will help you stay current in your discipline and explore important but unpublished works. In Day 4, we'll look at how to find retracted information and how it can inform your research process.

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