Searching ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

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In this tutorial, you will learn how to find items using the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full Text is a comprehensive database of doctoral dissertations and master’s theses. Full text is available for most items submitted after 1996 and for many before that.

To navigate through the tutorial use the arrows below.

Locate ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

On the page to your right, click the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full Text link

You may be prompted to login with your UA NetID and password before you can proceed.

You are now in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full Text.

Identify Keywords

In this tutorial, you will be searching the topic of bilingual education in the United States and its impact on Hispanic students’ academic achievement in school. The first step is to identify the most relevant keywords.

Based on the research topic identified above, what are the most important keywords you should use in your search?

Type these keywords into the first search box on the page to the right:

bilingual education AND united states AND Hispanic

Click Search.

How many results did this search retrieve?

Revise Your Search

More than 20,000 results is way too many! You do not want to spend your time weeding through thousands of results until you find one or two good ones.

Instead, you should work on narrowing your results in order to identify more relevant publications.

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text adds the AND in between all words, including words that you intend to search together as a phrase.

In order to search words as phrases, you will need to use quotation marks “ “ around the phrase.

Click Modify search, under the search box in the blue box towards the top of the screen.

Then click Clear form to the right of the orange Search button

Type "bilingual education" AND "United States" AND Hispanic and then click Search.

Now, how many results did you find?

Revise Your Search Again!

Over 10,000 results is still too many!

You can find articles that are more directly related to your topic by adding more keywords.

Since you need to find results that discuss the achievement of students in schools, add the phrase academic achievement to your search string.

Click Modify search, under the search box in the blue box towards the top of the screen.

Type AND “academic achievement” at the end of the search string in the box.

Click Search.

Note that you still get over 8,000 results.

Scroll down to the purple Publication date slider in the right hand frame.

Drag the slider to the right so that you only retrieve results published since 2000.

Click Update.

It's a little smaller, but you still get over 7,000 results! We need to bring this number down even more.

Limit Your Search

Let’s take a closer look at what ProQuest Dissertations & Theses is searching.

Click Modify search under the search box.

Note the drop-down menu box next to the first of three rows of search boxes. It shows that you are searching Anywhere.

That means the database is looking for your keywords in all possible fields such as title, author, etc. It is also searching for your words anywhere in the text of the abstract - even the full-text of the dissertation!

Click the arrow in the Anywhere text box and using the pull-down menu, choose Anywhere except full-text - ALL.

Click Search.

This brought your search down from over 3,000 results to a smaller and more relevant group of records.

Skim the results and note the titles of the dissertations. They look good, don't they?

Evaluate Search Results

It's always important to assess how relevant and useful your search results are. Let's look at an abstract for one these dissertations.

Locate the record titled: Principals' perceptions of bilingual education.

Click on the Citation/Abstract link towards the bottom left side of the record.

Read the abstract.

Will this dissertation help you research the question of how bilingual education impacts the academic achievement of Hispanic students?

Locate the Full Text of the Dissertation

Click on Back to results at the top of the record (next to the words "Citation/Abstract".

Let's examine one of the other, more relevant records and locate the full text of the dissertation.

Find the record for the dissertation titled "The effects of bilingual education on academic achievement, language development, and self-esteem of Hispanic children."

On the search results screen under the entry for this dissertation, click Full Text -PDF. This link will take you to the entire text of the dissertation including all images, pages, charts, and list of references.

Review the Cited References

Scroll through the full text of this dissertation, almost to the very end, until you reach the References section on page 195. These are the sources that the author used for this dissertation.

Whenever you find a good publication for your research topic, you will want to take a look at it's References or Bibliography section. You can then follow up on the most relevant citations and locate these sources to use them in your own research.

Use the Cite Feature

Note the different options available to you in the light blue ribbon towards the top right of the screen. You can email yourself a copy, print, export or save the record for the dissertation.

Click the Cite icon.

This will open up a new window. In this window you can use the drop-down menu to choose different citation styles. You can then copy and paste the citation into a paper.

NOTE: It's very important to double-check formatted citations to make sure they have been formatted correctly. Details such as capitalization, punctuation, italicization, or date order may be incorrect. You should be sure and correct these errors when you find them.

Click the Done button at the lower-left side to close the Cite window.

More Search Options

Click New search at the top right of the screen under the browser menu.

Click Clear form (next to the orange Search button). 

On the resulting Advanced Search page, scroll down to look at the different options for limiting your search.  These include author, advisor, university/institution, manuscript type, and language.

Search by Advisor's Name

It is best to use the Look up Advisors option and search by last name, then browse the index for your particular advisor. Since many names can be quite common, it is helpful to know the full and exact name of your advisor, including middle initial.

Click Look up Advisors to the right of the Advisor search box.

You are searching for dissertations for which Thomas Miller of the English Department at the University of Arizona has been the advisor.

Type Miller, Thomas.

Click Find

We are looking for Thomas P Miller.

Scroll down to locate the two entries for Thomas Miller with middle initial P.

Check the box next to both of these.

Click Add to search.

Limit by University/Institution

We want to make sure that we are only searching for dissertations from the University of Arizona.

Click Look up Universities/Institutions.

Type University of Arizona and click Find.

Select The University of Arizona.

Click Add to search.

Limit by Manuscript Type

Since you are only interested in locating dissertations, select Doctoral dissertations under Manuscript type.

Scroll down and click Search.

How many dissertations has Thomas P. Miller been advisor for at the University of Arizona?

Click Modify Search beneath the search box.

Click Clear form.

Search for a Specific Dissertation

You want to locate this dissertation that you found referenced in another database:

Heiney, Donald W. "Elements Of Greek Mythology In The Twentieth-Century French And German Drama." Abstracts Of Dissertations, University Of Southern California (1953): 76-78.

The most effective way to search by a known dissertation in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses is to search by the author's name:

Type Heiney, Donald W. in the search box.

Limit the search by clicking on the arrow in the Anywhere box and pulling down to select Author-AU.

Click Search.

There should be only one result.

Explore Options for Finding Full-text

Notice that for Heiney's dissertation, there is no full-text available from ProQuest. For options to get the full-text of this dissertation, click on the icon

Is there a copy of this dissertation in the Library holdings at the University of Arizona?

Interlibrary Loan

If you wanted to get a copy of this dissertation, you would then follow the directions on the screen to to request that the Library get this item for you, if possible, through Interlibrary Loan.

For more information, see Finding Non-UA dissertations and theses.


Congratulations! You have completed the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full Text tutorial.

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