Last Updated: Oct 16, 2023 Views: 13914

When you use the Multi-Search, you may see dissertations and theses in your search results, even when you apply the “Peer Reviewed (Scholarly)” limiter to your search. This is because even though dissertations are not peer-reviewed (published in peer-reviewed journals), they are often considered scholarly because they were written for an academic audience. For more information on the difference between scholarly and peer-reviewed sources, see the FAQ: What’s the difference between a scholarly and peer reviewed journal?

Dissertations and theses have value as research material, and they are an important form of scholarly communication. Here are a few reasons why:

  • They may reveal emerging trends and voices in a field of study.
  • Because of their length, they frequently offer more substantial coverage of a topic than a traditional journal article can.
  • They might be the only research or literature on an uncommon or niche topic.
  • They often have up-to-date and thorough literature reviews.
  • They almost always have extensive bibliographies of important sources in the field of study.
  • In the sciences, they may have additional datasets, graphs, and field data that is sometimes excluded from future article publications by the author.

If your assignment requires you to use articles from peer-reviewed journals, then a dissertation is not a good fit as one of your sources. However, you can certainly comb through the References or Bibliography at the end of the dissertation to see if any of the sources they used might qualify for your research. You can then use the instructions in this FAQ to see if we have the full text for those articles in our library: How do I find a specific article in the library?

If your assignment calls for scholarly sources, a dissertation may be a great contribution to your resources. Remember that all sources should be evaluated to determine not just if they are scholarly, but whether they are relevant and current enough to be used in your research. You should check with your professor if you have any questions or concerns about your ability to use dissertations as sources for your research assignment.

Content authored by: EF

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