This library guide points to library resources relevant to the stages of writing a dissertation or thesis.
The tabs on the left hand side of this page are roughly ordered by the stages of your work.
Consult with your subject librarian for help doing research. Also, please contact your subject librarian if you have any comments about this library guide and its usefulness.
THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. YOUR SUGGESTIONS WELCOME! Please send them to Brian Simboli.
Don't reinvent the wheel! Your librarian has focused literature searching skills that will help you avoid this.
Before writing your dissertation or thesis, look at examples of completed examples by consulting the library guide Finding Theses and Dissertations. It has two pages:
The library provides a range of resources relevant to researching your topic. Below are some of them.
Set up an appointment with a subject librarian to discuss these and other resources.
Explore the wide array of library guides to identify relevant literature databases and other resources related to your subject and to researching and writing.
Consider using Browzine to easily find, read, and monitor thousands of scholarly journals available from LTS, or through Open Access publishers, covering all disciplines.
Make heavy use of review articles, which summarize the literature in a sub-discipline. Some literature databases enable one to filter search results for this type of article. Also, you can often tell from its title whether an article provides a high-level review of a field.
Early on, set up email alerts, for example from library databases such as Web of Science, or Google Scholar, for new literature relating to your field. If you like a particular article or book, set up an email alert for literature that cite it. This is very important for purposes of tracking late-breaking literature as you do your research. Your librarian can help you design alerts.
CITING/CITED LITERATURE SEARCHING
Don't forget the importance, when researching, of finding an article or other document, then finding who has cited it. This is a very important way to build a bibliography, arguably one of the best. Librarians can assist you with this type of search as well as other approaches to searching.
DISSERTATIONS AS A SOURCE OF BIBLIOGRAPHY
In addition to looking at dissertations to get ideas about how to write a one, they can provide valuable bibliography. Include them in your literature searches. See Finding Theses and Dissertations.
How can you keep track of all the citations you come across and copies of the associated full text?
One way to do so is to use RefWorks. For information, see these library guides:
Below are some tips and resources about writing your dissertation or thesis. See the box below this one for books about writing dissertations and theses.
At the outset: write a literature review (before you write an outline)
Spend a good deal of time at the outset, or at least early on, writing the literature review section of your dissertation. See "The Literature Review: For Dissertations", a library guide from the University of Michigan Library.
Writing a literature review at the very outset of your research gives you a solid sense of the literature in your field and provides a context to narrow in on specific topics. It might prove invaluable in helping you get a sense of areas about which little has been written.
You may even want to try to publish in a journal a "review article" that grows out of the first chapter of your dissertation.
Some ideas for writing a literature review:
Citation Guides and Style Manuals
Determine what citation style to use. It is a good idea to start using the appropriate style when you start your dissertation or theses. Consult the library guide Citation Guides and Style Manuals.
If you are writing a paper that contains equations, consider use of Overleaf, a cloud-based, collaborative LaTeX editor. Lehigh subscribes to a site-wide license for Pro+ (premium) accounts. Register with your Lehigh email address.
Dissertation boot camp
Consider going to the dissertation boot camps held by the Graduate Student Life office. These provide extended quiet time to work on your writing. Also, being surrounded by others doing the same can help motivate you.
Consult books and e-books in Lehigh's library catalog about writing dissertations and theses.
Here's an example of the genre:
Below are some university resources that address how to format your dissertation or thesis. They are given here for your convenience.
*Contact your adviser to review your department's expectations, guidelines, or templates for submission.*
Preprints (scroll down a bit) are an increasingly important form of publishing. A preprint is a publicly accessible version of your research. Preprint servers serve as a place to publish an initial version of your research prior to seeking publication.
As you write successive chapters, consider publishing them as preprints, even as you submit them as journal articles...but first ascertain that the journal to which you submit your article allows "pre-publication" in a preprint. Or when your dissertation or thesis is done, consider publishing it as a preprint.
See here for benefits and caveats about publishing preprints.
As you write your dissertation, submit chapters as articles. When your dissertation or thesis is complete, consider publishing it as a book. Not only will this help you get a job, but it is a way to make available to the world the fruits of your hard labors.
For additional ideas, rummage around in these library guides from other institutions . Check with a librarian about resources at Lehigh comparable to those mentioned in these guides: