Skip to main content

Social Work Research Guide: Find Dissertations

library resources specifically for social work students


Finding the full-text of dissertations can be tricky. Dissertations are indexed in many of the library databases, but when they provide the reference from dissertation abstracts, that’s the full-text. The abstract.

To obtain the full-text of a dissertation, here are some ideas.


  1. Submit an ILL request for a thesis or dissertation: To request an ILL is free, however, most institutions (the institution being the place where the author received PhD) do not lend dissertations. But, occasionally some will.
  2. Order the full-text from UMI - Prices range from $46-96
  3. Try to find the author on the web – see if the author has a faculty page at a university. Email and ask for the full-text of the dissertation. Surprisingly, many of the authors are happy to email you their entire dissertation.
  4. Search GoogleScholar for the fulltext of the dissertation. Many authors are now posting their dissertations online.