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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2340/1148

Title: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database User Survey: The first large-scale survey of dissertation information seeking behavior
Authors: Amanda Ross
Issue Date: 30-Mar-2010
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh, University Library System, Pittsburgh, PA, USA http://conferences.library.pitt.edu/ocs/
Citation: In Proceedings of Twelfth Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To develop a clearer profile of researchers who use dissertations and a better understanding of how dissertations are used in the research cycle in order to present dissertations in more effective ways to support research. METHODS: "Users" are those who accessed the ProQuest platform and/or ProQuest Dissertations and Theses during the course of the survey (April 20 - May 15, 2008), and responded to an invitation link to the survey instrument. An incentive drawing was included. 3,034 individuals took part in the survey. The survey instrument - mostly of structured single response questions - included a two multi-element questions using a 1-10 rating scale, and two open-ended questions on the object of the search and on usage of competitive databases like PQDT. RESULTS: Graduate students account for nearly half of database users; undergraduates about a third. Nearly half of all those who searched the dissertation database are either studying for doctorates or working on master's theses. The corollary is that a majority of those accessing PQDT are not doing so. While librarians in this survey were not themselves frequent users of PQDT, the college or graduate school library website is an "extremely important" influence on accessing the PQDT or ProQuest platforms. PQDT is likely to be accessed quite specifically with the intention of reviewing dissertations or theses - and often. About one in five users accessed PQDT at least five times in the month immediately prior to the survey. Social sciences, business and education are the three leading disciplines associated with accessing PQDT. Other important areas are the arts and humanities generally, and medical sciences. CONCLUSIONS: This survey suggests that there is more to learn about non-student researchers and a need to find ways to provide them access to dissertation research. It also supports the importance of dissertations as primary source material in current research.
URI: http://conferences.library.pitt.edu/ocs/viewabstract.php?id=725&cf=7
Appears in Collections:ETD 2009

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