What is Dissertation Abstracts?

Let's break this question down into a few smaller questions.

  1. What is an abstract? An abstract is a small summary of a longer piece of written work.
  2. What is a dissertation? A dissertation, sometimes called a thesis, is a research project conducted and written by a person who is a candidate for graduating from a higher education institution for a master's or doctoral degree. On rare occasions, a dissertation or thesis may be written by a bachelor's candidate.
  3. So what is Dissertation Abstracts? Dissertation Abstracts is a specific publication that prints only the abstracts of doctoral dissertations. Its purpose is to allow researchers to remain current with what other people in their field are studying by providing short summaries of dissertations that have been published.

Dissertation Abstracts provides ONLY the abstract, not the entire dissertation. Entire dissertations must be requested through Interlibrary Loan separately.

Determining if you really want the dissertation abstract

  • The abstract MAY NOT be useful to you if you are conducting regular, undergraduate level research. You probably should find a different source.
  • The abstract MAY be useful to you if you are trying to decide if you need to consult (therefore, Interlibrary Loan) the entire dissertation for your research. If you are an upper-level undergraduate, Master's, Doctoral, or faculty member conducting research, you may wish to read the entire dissertation. See below for instructions on requesting a full-length dissertation.

Requesting the full-length dissertation

To request an Interlibrary Loan of an entire dissertation, log in to your ILLiad account.

  1. In the upper left hand corner, under "Create New Request" click on "Other Items."
  2. In the Citation section for "Describe the Item that you want" include dissertation title, dissertation author, year of publication, and any other information you may have, including the school where the dissertation was published.
  3. In the Citation section for "Where did you learn about this item" include where the citation to the dissertation was found, such as Dissertation Abstracts volume 71, issue 7.
  4. Set your "Not Wanted After" date.
  5. Click Submit Information.

Please note that not all dissertations are available for Interlibrary Loan. Some that are available may not be available for free. We will notify you before attempting to obtain a copy that is not free.  

Please email ill@millikin.edu with any questions.