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Is there a doctoral dissertation database online?

A doctoral dissertation is a very important document. It is a chance for those seeking a doctorate to prove to their review board and advisor that they are ready to contribute to their academic field through individual research. The dissertation takes quite a long period of time and dedication.

That being said picking a dissertation topic and writing the final piece can be greatly aided by reviewing multiple examples and looking over previously submitted dissertations.

This begs the question: is there a doctoral dissertation database online?

The answer is technically “yes” and technically “no”.

The “No” answer

Technically there is no single international database that contains every doctoral dissertation ever published. There is the internet through which you can find multiple doctoral dissertations but you won’t find every publication in your field contained in a single venue.

That being said there is still hope for finding samples and examples that can guide you through the writing process….

The “Yes” answer

Many schools will have a library system which offers students a physical and online database through which to search. This database contains much of the work from previous students and scholars alike. Doctoral dissertations are published by schools and categorized among the library system from the publishing university.

This means that if you are studying in the field of biology and are looking for some additional help configuring your paper or picking a topic you can turn to your biology section in the school library and find copies of previously published content. You can find topics that have already been used by those who came before you.

Because this is true for many universities it is possible for students to seek topic ideas and see previous publications from multiple universities. While it may take a bit of effort it can be done.

Students may not be able to access the actual copy of the dissertation online from other schools but some schools may have an intralibrary loan system through which a librarian from your school can request a copy of a book or publication contained in the library of another school. If this does not work you may have to visit the other libraries in person in order to find previously published content from other doctoral students.

Using these resources can ensure you get a great feel for what work has already been done in your field and what other contributions you can make.


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