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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.): Locating Dissertations


Dissertations and theses are great sources to use when you are writing one yourself. However, they are not as easy to come by as books and articles. When a student completes their dissertation only a few copies (if any) are bound. Usually, one of these bound copies is available at the student's university library or online institutional repository.

You may have heard of the database, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. The Western Libraries does NOT subscribe to this database. 

Dissertation Databases ( Also, see ETD box below.)


ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses Open - This select group of authors has opted to make the full-text of their complete dissertations available to everyone.

Open Access Theses and Dissertations

Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD)  - Open access organization for advanced research and scholarship that are free to find and free to use.

Google Scholar

Web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines.


If you are looking for dissertations or theses as examples to help with your own dissertation formatting or methodology, you don't necessarily have to be comprehensive in your searching. You just need good examples. Because of this you can search a smaller group of selected dissertations and theses and - maybe - find one that works.

Search tips:

  • Search for a study using your potential methodology (ethnography, phenomenology, experimental, etc.)
  • Add relevant terms in your search to narrow your focus 

Full-text from a Citation or Abstract

If you have an extended abstract or even just a citation of a dissertation or thesis. 

  • Google the title. If you are lucky, the dissertation might be available in its entirety online either through the granting university's online repository or an Electronic Thesis and Dissertation, ETD, site.
  • If the dissertation is not available online for free, submit an ILL request via the Western Libraries Illiad Form. This is very similar to requesting books or journal articles. If it turns out that the Western Libraries cannot borrow a copy through ILL, then we will purchase a pdf copy of the dissertation for you via the Proquest Dissertations & Theses Database
  • Try to locate the contact information and contact the author directly. As a scholar, the author may or may not be happy to share their work.

Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD)

In the past few years, many universities have decided to support Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) projects and now make their most recent dissertations and theses available electronically via their own web sites.

  • Search Google for ETD and [name of university]
  • Once you are within the university website, search by topic, author, etc.

You can also search for all publicly available ETDs that have been harvested by Libraries Worldwide (WorldCat). Click on Advanced Search for search options.

  • WorldCat
  • Enter Thesis/Dissertation ETD and [Topic]


  • Thesis/Dissertation ETD and [author]