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Conducting and Writing Literature Reviews: Dissertations/Theses

How to conduct research and write a literature review

Dissertations & Theses Databases


Full-text dissertations sometimes have links in the university library catalog where the dissertation was published.  A copy of a dissertation or a master’s thesis can sometimes be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan. Some dissertations and theses are simply not available due to the granting university's policies.

The following resources are excellent starting points for locating dissertations on a particular topic.

Locating Dissertations & Theses

There are variations in the way masters’ theses and dissertations are cataloged in library catalogs.


Most of FGCU's dissertations are available electronically via DigitalFGCU.

In the FGCU catalog, a thesis is assigned the subject “Dissertations, academic” followed by a subheading for the university where the thesis was done. For example, to locate print dissertations for Education in our catalog search the following:  

Dissertations, Academic -- FGCU -- Education -- Doctorate

In addition to cataloging by author, title and by the subject matter of the thesis, the type of work, i.e. thesis or dissertation, is also cataloged and searchable.  UWF, UCF, USF, UF, FSU, FIU and FAU now provide access to many of their dissertations and theses electronically through their library catalogs.  

Theses and dissertations held by other State Universities in Florida may be found in their online public catalogs a bit differently.

For example:

To find USF (University of South Florida) masters theses in the adult education program:

To find UF (University of Florida) theses use this example:

  • §   Dissertations, academic -- UF -- College of Health Professions

Some of UF's dissertations may be available online for free and some are only accessible to the UF community.  Search for UF dissertations & theses.

In the University of Central Florida (UCF) online catalog, UCF theses can be found by searching the subject heading followed by a subheading for the department.e.g.:

UWF Dissertations (University of West Florida)

Florida Universities Union Catalog Search of Online Dissertations  (for dissertations: from the result listing go to the Subject topic area on the left and then click on the +sign to locate dissertations by topic.


Sometimes newer dissertations may be available online for free from the universities where the dissertation was published.   If you have a title of a dissertation, you may try locate it in the following ways:

  1. Type the title of a dissertation in Google because it may be available online.
  2. Go to the University Library where the dissertation was published and do a search.
  3. Search WorldCat to see who may own the item.  If you do not find it electronically, you may request via ILL or sometimes we may purchase dissertations. 

Dissertation & Writing Handbooks


The following is a short list of suggested sources on writing theses and dissertations.  To locate resources in the catalog try the following search.

dissertations, academic authorship

Biklen, S. K., & Casella, R. (2007). A practical guide to the qualitative dissertation. New York: Teachers College Press.  LB2369 .B49 2007

Brown, R. (2006). Doing your dissertation in business and management : The reality of researching and writing. London: Sage.  LB2369 .B73 2006

  • Buckler, S., & Walliman, N. (2016). Your dissertation in education.  Los Angeles : SAGE, 2016.  LB1028 .B835 2016 

Butin, D. W. (2010). The education dissertation: A guide for practitioner scholars. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin.  LB2369.B87 2010

Calabrese, R. L. (2009). Dissertation desk reference:  the doctoral student's manual to writing the dissertationLanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education.  LB2369 .C273 2009

Cone, J. D., & Foster, S. L. (2006). Dissertations and theses from start to finish : Psychology and related fields (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. BF76.5 .C645 2006

Krathwohl, D. R., & Smith, N. L. (2005). How to prepare a dissertation proposal : Suggestions for students in education and the social and behavioral sciences (1st ed.). Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press.  LB2369 .K723 2005

Luey, B. (2008). Revising your dissertation : Advice from leading editors (Updat ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. LB2369 .R49 2008

Lunenburg, F. C., & Irby, B. J. (2008). Writing a successful thesis or dissertation: Tips and strategies for students in the social and behavioral sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. LB2369.L814 2008

Miller, A. B. (2009). Finish your dissertation once and for all! : How to overcome psychological barriers, get results, and move on with your life (1st ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. LB2369.M454 2009

Mullen, C. A. (2007). The handbook of doctoral programs in educational leadership : Issues and challenges. Miami, AZ; Houston, Tex.: NCPEA Press; Rice University.  LB2806 .H36 2007 

Thomas, R. M., & Brubaker, D. L. (2008). Theses and dissertations : A guide to planning, research, and writing (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.   LB2369 .T458 2008

Willis, J., Freitas, D. L. I., & Valenti, R. (2010). Completing a professional practice dissertation: A guide for doctoral students and faculty. Charlotte, N.C.: Information Age Pub.  LB2369.W534 2010