Working With A Dissertation Database: Essential Rules

When working on your dissertation you are going to need access to as many resources as possible in order to find all the information you need to research and write a great document. One such resource is the dissertation database which stores thousands of graduate projects on any of a number of subjects. There usually isn’t too much instruction available on how to properly use these databases, so we’ve put together this article of essential rules to help you get started on the right foot.

Rule #1: First Talk to the Reference Librarian

Start off by simply speaking with the reference librarian. This specialist is here to assist you in every way possible, ensuring that you don’t spend unnecessary time lost in the aisles searching for books. State what you are researching and the reference librarian should be able to provide you with a list of databases to search as well as the most effective keywords to use.

Rule #2: Do a General Search Using Keywords

When searching for documents be sure to start broadly and work your way to a more narrow and focused search. Take the keyword suggestions given to you by the reference librarian to get started, but also pay attention to recommended keywords that the search engine provides or related terms that also appear as tags in some documents. This will allow you to get a complete list of results.

Rule #3: Learn How to Scan Abstracts Effectively

As you begin to search through several pages of results you should know that you can save plenty of time by learning how to effectively scan abstracts. With any research project the abstract should contain a brief summary of what is contained within the document. Look for “trigger” words that point to something that is relatable to the research you intend on doing.

Rule #4: Print Out Any Resource in its Entirety

When you finally identify the resources you will cite in your research or the ones you believe you will reference in some way, be sure to print them out in their entirety. The reason behind this is that you should allow yourself the opportunity to read the entire work and to find any details that might come and contradict what you believe those resources state. You should also print out the entire resource because of some copyright restrictions and limitations you might have about using certain parts of the document.

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