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Ph.D. Career Resources: Dissertations

This dissertation page includes Web Resources aimed at helping doctoral students through the dissertation process, Online Articles giving specific advice, Research and Formatting Tools, sample guidelines for Traditional and Electronic Dissertations, places for Publishing the Dissertation, a Bibliography of articles about dissertations, and a link to Dissertation-Related Promising Practices.

Web Resources

All-But-Dissertation Survival Guide  This monthly newsletter provides practical strategies for successfully completing your doctoral dissertation, periodic interviews with scholars about the tips they wish they'd known at the beginning of their own careers, and teleworkshops. 

Association for the Support of Graduate Students  ASGS provides services aimed at helping students complete their dissertations; services include a thesis newsletter (Thesis News), a moderated email list (Doc-Talk), a Professional Consultant Directory, Computer Templates for Editorial Styles, and results of ASGS surveys on major thesis problems.

Claremont Graduate University Writing Center: Thesis and Dissertation Guide  Offers advice for all phases of the dissertation, from "Choosing a Topic" and "Writing the Proposal" to "Obtaining Feedback" and "Revising," as well as "Additional Resources."  Some of the Writing Center's additional Links are useful research tools as well.

The Dead Thesis Society   A student-organized thesis support group that provides a listserv, online resources, and on-site meetings in Canada. 

The Dissertation Doctor  This commercial site offers individualized dissertation coaching from a university director of doctoral research.

Ph.D. Information (University of Queensland)  Offers suggestions for designing, researching, organizing, and writing the dissertation, as well as links to other sites.

Phinished  A discussion and support site aimed at helping people finish their dissertations.


Online Articles

Choosing a Research Topic  Richard Reis explains what factors to consider when staking out an area of research in the sciences.

Dissertation Advice  A collection of articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education dealing with writing and completing the dissertation.

The One-Year Plan  Advice on completing the dissertation and finding a job (academic or otherwise) in the space of a year.

Some Thoughts on Dissertation Proposal Writing  Chris Golde offers suggestions for drafting a proposal.

Summary Notes of Writing for Social Scientists  An outline of Howard S. Becker's suggestions for writing.  Taken from his book, Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986).

Thesis Writing, Guru-Style  Andrea Lord offers a highly structured approach to finishing the dissertation on time.

Thinking About Your Thesis  This article by Erika Simpson provides guidelines for finishing a thesis or dissertation.

Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation  This article by S. Joseph Levine provides guidelines for thinking about a thesis or dissertation, writing a proposal, completing the project, and defending it.

Writing a Dissertation  Five winners of the American Political Science Association reflect on what they learned in the process of writing a dissertation and what advice they would pass on to others.

Writing Your Dissertation  This handout from the University of North Carolina Writing Center gives an overview of the steps necessary for starting, drafting, and completing your dissertation. 


Research and Formatting Tools

American Psychological Association  Get information about the APA guide at the organization's site.  The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's online version of the APA guide.

Council of Biology Editors Style  Monroe Community College Library's highlights of formatting rules for mathematics and the sciences.

Modern Language Association  Get information about the MLA guide at the organization's site under "MLA style."  The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's online version of the MLA guide.

Online! Citation Styles  Gives information about MLA, APA, Chicago, CBE, and other styles; particularly useful for documenting online sources (websites, listserv or newsgroup postings, etc.).

Proquest  Proquest provides access to online materials including periodicals, newspapers, and dissertations.

QualPage Offers a range of links to other resources including calls for papers, discussion groups, online qualitative resources, journals, conference proceedings, and Qualitative Data Analysis software.

The Qualitative Report Research Resources  Offers links to webpages, papers, and online journals including The Qualitative Report.

Qualitative Research Site  Bobbi Kerlin's site links to sites dealing with theoretical and methodological issues, writing up research, ethics, software, and more.

Quantitative Advisor
   Offers statistics programs, sources for real data, lists of publications, and links to organizations.

Research Design Explained (Clarion University)  Methodologies and tools for psychological research.

Research-It!   Academic research engine that includes translation tools and search portals for people, quotations, maps, and more.

Sage Publications  Click on "Books" on the left sidebar, then click on "Catalogue Listing" for books about qualitative and quantitative methodology.

Suppliers of Statistical Analysis Software  Provides a list of twenty-eight suppliers and information about their statistical analysis software programs.

Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Quantitative Research  This discussion forum for Sociological Research Online seeks to stimulate debate on key issues within sociology.


Traditional Dissertation Guidelines

Cornell: Doctoral Dissertation and Master's Thesis

Rackham (University of Michigan): Dissertation Handbook

University of Georgia: Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations

University of Alabama Dissertation Guidelines

University of Washington Guidelines  
See thesis template at


Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Guidelines

East Tennessee State University: ETD Manager

Virginia Tech Digital Library and Archives: ETD Guidelines

Washington State University: Digital Dissertations and Theses

West Virginia University: ETD Guidelines


ETD's from different fields


Dairy Science

Engineering Mechanics

Music Performance (natural horn)

Networked Digital Library of Dissertations and Theses

University of Virginia Electronic Theses and Dissertations in the Humanities 

Virginia Tech Digital Library and Archives


Publishing the Dissertation

This list is by no means exhaustive: many publishers and print-on-demand publishing services can be found online.  These are publishing services/houses that either specialize in non-fiction and dissertations or are fairly well-known.  We welcome additions to this list at

Academic Dissertation Publishers  Publishes dissertations on demand for a fee and makes them available for sale through and other distributors.  A subsidiary of Universal Publishers.

BrownWalker Press  Publishes dissertations on demand for a fee (beginning at $49) and makes the dissertation available for sale through and other distributors.  A subsidiary of Universal Publishers.

Publishers' Addresses  An alphabetical listing, posted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, of publishers in the U.S.

UMI Dissertation Services   A product of Proquest, UMI publishes, archives, locates, and sells doctoral dissertations.  Publishes dissertations on demand for a fee and makes them available for sale through and other distributors.  A subsidiary of Universal Publishers.

WritersWorld  A British-based company that publishes dissertations for a fee (roughly $700) and makes the book available on demand in British, European, and most major American booksellers.

Xlibris  In partnership with Random House Ventures, Xlibris publishes print on demand and distributes through major booksellers.



Acker, S. H., T.; Black, E. (1994). Thesis supervision in the social sciences: managed or negotiated? Higher Education, 28, 483-498.

Blanton, J. (1983). Midwifing the dissertation. Teaching of Psychology, 10(2), 74-77.

Brunell, J. S., & Judge, C. (1996). Research workshops advance Harvard's "Community of Scholars". GSAS Bulletin, 26(2), 1, 8.

Damrosch, D. (1995). We Scholars: Changing the Culture of the University. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Damrosch, D. (2000). Mentors and Tormentors in Doctoral Education. Chronicle of Higher Education, B24.  [On-line]. Retrieved March, 2001, from the World Wide Web:

Deem, R. (1998, July 15-16). Doctoral routes-Different paths to the same destination? Paper presented at the Paper presented to the UK Council for Graduate Education Summer Conference, University of Greenwich.

D'Onofrio, A. (1993). Dissertation supervision: A new path, an old guide and reflections on William James. Continuing Higher Education Review, 57(3), 130-146.

Duke, N. K. B., Sarah W. (1999). Education Should Consider Alternative Formats for the Dissertation. Educational Researcher, 28(3), 31-36.

Goodchild, L. F. M., Margaret M. (1997). The American Doctorate and Dissertation: Six Developmental Stages. New Directions for Higher Education, 99, 17-32.

Green, K. E. (1997). Psychosocial Factors Affecting Dissertation Completion. New Directions for Higher Education, 99, 57-64.

Hines, S. (2001, December 6). Urban ecology: Collaborative program prepares students for real world. University Week. [On-line]. Retrieved December, 2001, from the World Wide Web: 

Isaac, P. D., Quinlan, S. V., & Walker, M. M. (1992). Faculty perceptions of the doctoral dissertation. Journal of Higher Education, 63(3), 241-268.

Leatherman, C. (2000). A New Push for ABDs To Cross the Finish Line. Chronicle of Higher Education, 46(29), A18-A20. [On-line]. Retrieved March, 2001, from the World Wide Web:

Lenz, K. S. (1997). Nontraditional-Aged Women and the Dissertation: A Case Study Approach. New Directions for Higher Education, 99, 65-75.

Menand, L. (1996, September 22). How to make a Ph.D. matter. New York Times Magazine, 78-81.

Nerad, M. (1997). The institution that cares: Berkeley's efforts to support dissertation writing in the humanities and social sciences. New Directions for Higher Education, 99, 75-90.

University of California at Berkeley. (1997). Communities of scholars: Dissertation accelerators. The Graduate, 13(1), 1-3.

University of California at Berkeley. (2001). Material for dissertation retreats at Berkeley/Stanford [On-line]. Retrieved July, 2001, from the World Wide Web:

Ziolkowski, T. (1990). The Ph.D. squid. The American Scholar, 59(2), 177-195.



Dissertation-Related Promising Practices


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