Finding the Full Text of U.S. and Canadian Business Dissertations

PhD dissertations are often overlooked as a source of information.

Current dissertations frequently deal with cutting edge research, and provide extensive bibliographies of sources. The Proquest databases ABI/Inform and Dissertations and Theses Fulltext index U.S. and Canadian PhD dissertations related to business topics, as well as provide the full text of many of the publications.

The most comprehensive source of U.S. and Canadian dissertations is Proquest Dissertations and Theses Fulltext. It includes all doctoral level dissertations completed at North American Universities.

To retrieve Penn dissertations by subject, do this search:

Dissertations search optionsType “University of Pennsylvania” (in quotes) as the School Name/code.

Then browse subjects, and choose, for example, Finance, as the Subject heading.

There are some 24,000 Penn dissertations, on all subjects, in the database spanning the years 1889-2013. About 10,000 of these are available as full text.

The database also includes indexing and abstracts of dissertations completed at leading European universities. However, there is little full text coverage of this material. For example, searching for “England” as the dissertation location will retrieve more than 30,000 dissertations, but less than 200 include the complete text.

The ABI/Inform database provides the complete text of some 35,000 U.S. and Canadian dissertations on business topics. To search for dissertations in ABI/Inform:

Select Dissertation/Thesis as the Document Type

Document type

To further limit to dissertations completed at Penn, search for “University of Pennsylvania” (in quotes) and select “Anywhere except full text” (from the pull-down menu).

DISS Anywhere except full text

There are about 500 business related Penn dissertations available in ABI. The earliest is from 1990, although most of the coverage begins in 2000.  Below is an example of a dissertation citation.

diss sample cite

The most comprehensive search of the dissertation literature can be done in Dissertations and Theses Fulltext. However, ABI/Inform allows us to do a general business literature search and at the same time retrieve relevant dissertations.

For a more detailed look at finding Penn dissertations on all subjects, see this FAQ.

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