This week, please find two citations for dissertations or theses related to your topic and write two paragraphs evaluating their usefulness or potential usefulness to you. (You may not be able to get a copy very quickly, although you can use Tripsaver, aka interlibrary loan, to order one if you’d like to read it.) It’s true that you can find theses and dissertations using Google Scholar, but there’s no good way to limit your search to just these genres. A much better option for this assignment is to use the Dissertation Abstracts database, which is the definitive resource for finding dissertations.
Try to find the best theses for your research, not the most easily accessible ones. But do also take a look at dissertations and theses written at NCSU. You can search for them in the library catalog by limiting to “theses and dissertations,” then quickly lay your hands on a readable copy by visiting Special Collections (in the case of pre-1997 works) or by clicking on a full-text PDF (for most works after 1997) stored in NCSU’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations database. There aren’t that many items in the ETD database, but on the plus side, you can get the material fast.
Note that your own master’s thesis, like Melanie Sue Hair’s “The Literary Merit of Young Adult Novels: Are They as Good as the Classics?”, will show up there someday soon, and, because it’s in a freely available online database, the whole thing will also be freely available to the world via Google and Google Scholar unless you specifically request that it be withheld for a time (this is called an “embargo”). Neither Dissertation Abstracts nor Amazon indexes Melanie’s thesis, but take a look at David Alejandro Cardenas’s 2005 dissertation Measurement of Involvement Factors in Leisure Studies Doctoral Programs, which is indexed by DA, by our catalog, by the ETD database, and by Google Scholar, with its full text freely available — or, of course, you can get it through Amazon for $69.99.
Other relevant links:
- NCSU Graduate School’s Thesis and Dissertation Guide — I looked here for exact information on who exactly owns the copyright of your thesis, but to no avail. What I think is that you retain most of the copyright to your work (“copyright” is really a bundle of rights), but that you sign a waiver at some point that allows both NCSU and UMI the right to distribute copies of it but does not allow them to block publication of your work elsewhere. Note that the section on “Copyrighting and Microfilming” is mostly concerned with copyrighted material in your work; this is because UMI and NCSU are effectively publishing your work, and they don’t want to be sued by other copyright holders. Note too a work need not be registered with the Copyright Office in order to be copyrighted, a distinction that is not at ll clear in this guide.
- ProQuest / UMI’s Dissertation Publishing webpage — You can read here about ProQuest’s business deals with Google and Amazon and about the Open Access publishing option, which (I learned) costs $95.
What exactly counts as a publication in this day and age, anyway?