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A Useful Database: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses FullText

By Ed Greenlee, Associate Director for Public Services

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Fulltext (formerly Dissertation Abstracts) is a database of dissertations in a wide variety of disciplines from economics and religious studies to history and philosophy. As legal research becomes increasingly interdisciplinary, law students frequently need to carry out research in fields other than law. When embarking on a challenging research project, dissertations can prove a very valuable resource. 

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Dissertations focus on a narrow subject area and, if that subject area is the one that you are researching, a dissertation on point can be invaluable. Beyond the text itself, dissertations are heavily documented writings. They often include up to date literature reviews which can help a researcher get a handle on the key sources in a particularly discipline as applied to your research topic. In addition, dissertations contain exhaustive bibliographies. ProQuest also allows you to determine whether a dissertation has been cited, and whether related dissertations exist, using the "See similar documents" function.
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The interdisciplinary researcher should make ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Fulltext  one of the first resources consulted. Finding a dissertation that is on point provides a detailed text, a review of the most recent relevant literature in a field, and a well-researched  bibliography that can offer you a solid start to your interdisciplinary research paper, journal comment or clinical project.