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Research Process

These pages offer an introduction to the research process at a very general level.

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

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:

Additional Dissertation Databases

Searching 101 Workshop

This workshop covers the basics of searching: Boolean logic, keywords vs. subjects, how to use a database thesaurus, and truncation. Various databases will be used throughout the workshop to demonstrate different searching techniques.