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Gray Literature: Beyond Peer Review

Find OSU Theses & Dissertations

One of the best ways to get started with your literature review is to read other literature reviews from a completed thesis or dissertation written by someone from your department.

1. Find an OSU thesis or dissertation using ScholarsArchive@OSU

  • Use a keyword search if you know the name of a past student or specific research topic. However, to get an overview of common trends in theses and dissertations in your department, use the search limiters on the left side of the page. 
  • First (before entering any search terms), narrow by degree field. Click the "more" button, and then select the A-Z sort option to look through the list of degree names alphabetically. Choose the department or field name that matches your area of study.


  • To find recent theses or dissertations, next refine your results on the left-hand side of the results page using the Date or Commencement Year option. Expand the box, then enter your preferred date range. For example 2021-2023. Then click "limit."
  • From this focused list of results, click on a thesis or dissertation title. 
  • To view the full text, select the Download PDF link on the left side of the page.

2. Analyze the literature review you have selected.

  • Use the table of contents to find the literature review. Sometimes there are multiple literature reviews in a single thesis or dissertation if your department uses the article format.
  • Ask yourself questions about how the literature review is structured and how sources are used. For example:
    • How many sources are used to back up ideas?
    • How old are the sources?
    • Do sources come from multiple format types (e.g., journal articles, government websites, books, conference proceedings)?
    • What citation style is used?
    • How long is the literature review?
    • How much depth does the author use to back up their ideas?
    • How does the author transition from one idea to the next?

Other sources of theses & dissertations

These resources also index theses and dissertations.

ProQuest Dissertation Express: find citations here, then request it from OSU Libraries' Interlibrary Loan.

  1. PQDT Open Searches open access theses and dissertations from the ProQuest database. It is a subset of Dissertation Abstracts.
  2. Google Scholar indexes many open access theses and dissertations from institutions and authors that have published them as open access. However, filtering to just dissertations and theses is not an option at this time.
  3. Check the OSU Libraries database list to see if a database in your discipline indexes dissertations (many do) or ask your subject librarian for help selecting the best option.
  4. Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) Recommends several search engines for access to dissertations and theses.
  5. Search The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) catalog to view citations of over 800,000 dissertations from countries outside the US and Canada. Where available, request full-text from the CRL through Interlibrary Loan.