Using Dissertations

| December 12, 2016

Not only do many TC students not know how to search for dissertations at Gottesman Library, many don’t even know that the library has these resources available. But the library has all of the past Ed.D. dissertations written by TC students available either in hard copy or digital. (Ph.D. dissertations are available through Columbia GSAS.) All dissertations written after 1996 are archived through the library online here. Ed.D. dissertations written before 1996 are archived in hard copy at library. Currently Gottesman Library has these older Ed.D. dissertations digitally copied here to be viewed by any TC student.

Although this is useful knowledge, why should TC students bother looking at these papers that even the authors don’t want to look at again? While we could probably sit here and write you a dissertation about the topic, we selected the top three reasons to check out past dissertations:

1.) These people did research for you! Doctoral students spend years formulating research into their dissertation, and there is a high chance that dissertations done by students in your department will help you in your thesis, or just papers for class. In a pinch, you can even just use a dissertation’s research page to help research your work.

2.) Reading other people’s work can influence your own writing skills. Every student at TC has to write a paper in some class at some point. Academic writing can sometimes stress students out, especially if they already have writers block or dislike the class. Reading other writing on similar topics can put some ease on students as they begin to imagine how their papers will be formed.

3.) The lit reviews will bring life to your research. Every dissertation has one chapter that is a comprehensive lit review of a huge amount of research in the field. Doctoral students read and synthesize a massive amount of research in their field and turn that information into a chapter in their dissertation. Anyone writing or researching on similar topic can use the lit review as a great resource for jumpstarting their research or discovering scholars in the field.

Sources:

– http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/writing-resources/literature-review

– http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/abstracts/