A Master’s Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation is the capstone of many graduate programs. It requires a monumental amount of effort to put together the original research, citations, and sheer writing time to finish. Many students cruise through their master’s and PhD coursework without breaking a sweat, only to be stonewalled when it comes time to write a long, in-depth dissertation that contributes original material to the student’s chosen field. Bluntly, finishing a thesis or dissertation is hard, and nobody can do it alone. These websites are the best resources available online to those who need to buckle down and finish a Master’s Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation.
It is impossible to do original research in any field without reading the work that has come before. There are dozens of online databases and scholarly search services that make it easier to track down previously published academic work in any discipline.
LexisNexis Academic allows users to search the news, look up legal cases, look up information about companies, and research public figures.
Compelling Feature: Easy Search
CORE aims to connect users with open access content and they’re also a large aggregator of content from hundreds of Open Access repositories.
Compelling Feature: Data Description
Directory of Open Access Journals
The Directory of Open Access Journals has a principal goal of increasing the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals.
Compelling Feature: Browse
Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Foreign Dissertations
The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Foreign Dissertations Section allows users to filter through over 800,000 doctoral dissertations from over 1,200 institutions worldwide. Searches can be done be keyword or by specific country and institution.
Compelling Feature: Advanced Search
Stanford Dissertation Browser
Stanford Dissertation Browser is an intuitive resource for browsing a database of PhD dissertations and this is, in part, due to the sites visualization of the browser, which is color-coded in an easy-to-locate manner.
Compelling Feature: Dissertation Explorer
Open Thesis is an open access repository of various academic documents, theses, and dissertations. The content is user-generated, so it does depend on the authors of these works to upload their own materials.
Compelling Feature: For Universities
Dissertation is a website for academic book publishers and includes Masters Theses and PhD Dissertations.
Compelling Feature: Award
Dissertations of China (DOC)
Dissertations of China is a database of PhD dissertations from every established academic field, along with subcategories.
Compelling Feature: Introduction
DISssertations Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change ReSearch (DISCCRS)
The DISCCRS, pronounced discourse, aims to advance academia by giving students access to a searchable database of PhD’s, along with career-development resources. Additionally, they have links to symposiums and other useful information.
Compelling Feature: Symposium Instructions
DART-Europe E-theses Portal
DART-Europe E-Theses Portal is a network of research libraries and a group for improving global access to the materials.
Compelling Feature: Documents and Downloads
Theses Canada Portal
Theses Canada is a resource for locating theses and dissertations. The theses are compiled through a variety of Canadian academic institutions and universities.
Compelling Feature: Obtain A Thesis
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations is an international organization devoted to the preservation of theses and dissertations through digital means.
Compelling Feature: News
DATAD: Database of African Theses and Dissertations
Database of African Theses and Dissertations helps locate theses and dissertations from African higher education networks through a powerful search engine.
Compelling Feature: Resource Center
Writing and research styles can be completely different from one discipline to the next. Where a math PhD seeker might do all her doctoral research on a computer, building models, a master of history candidate might need to spend hours digging through archives and microfiche at the library. These sites offer perspectives and tools for all types of researchers.
Vitae is an organization based in the United Kingdom focused on professional and career development of doctoral researchers and the staffs of higher education institutions.
Compelling Feature: How is Vitae Structured?
Fragment/Framework is run by a Doctoral Candidate from Purdue University. The goal of the blog is to provide an environment to intuitively enrich the writing practices of students, along with professionals.
Compelling Feature: Service Learning in Business Writing Courses
The Library Blog
The Library Blog is an online resource created by The University of Boras. The blog posts tips to writing papers and includes updates on interesting developments in the literary community.
Compelling Feature: Help Referencing
OrganoGnosi is a digital workflow for academic research It also helps provide literary resources to interested readers. The author uses a variety of programs, such as Skim, Calibre, DevonThink, BibDesk, MediaWiki, and TextMate.
Compelling Feature: The Big Picture
Critical Thinking and Academic Research
The Critical Thinking and Academic Research page from University of Louisville helps foster new ideas through assisting in building better research papers. They provide tips on developing concepts, points of view, and inferences that prove helpful for academic research.
Compelling Feature: Questions
Organizing Creativity guides users through a series of helpful tips to better implementing ideas for creative projects. The book is available as a PDF and there is a supplementary blog as well.
Compelling Feature: Portfolio
The Dutch PhD Coach
The Dutch PhD Coach is run by Arjenne Louter, a teacher with 20 years’ experience assisting PhD students when faced with problems relevant to writing, literature, work-life balance, motivation, and inspiration.
Compelling Feature: Blog
Explorations of Style
Explorations of Style informs readers on the state of academic writing in contemporary society, along with how to overcome the challenges associated with it.
Compelling Feature: Author
Write to Done
Write to Done is a forum for writers to discuss techniques that have proven effective and offer tips and insight to other writers. The blog is composed of passionate authors who truly enjoy writing.
Compelling Feature: Guest Post Guidelines
Patter is a blog that gives tips for academic writing, be it for journals or a thesis, and even dissertations. The advice is comprehensive and provides useful clarity.
Compelling Feature: Writing For Journals
Academic Writing Librarians
Academic Writing Librarians is a blog dedicated to supporting library staff members and accepts guest posts. The site has links for resources and workshops, along with online writing groups and bibliography help.
Compelling Feature: My Writing Resources
Scientific Academic Writing
Scientific Academic Writing blogs about writing advice for those working on scientific research papers geared for academic journals, theses, and dissertations. The posts cover a wide variety of subjects.
Compelling Feature: 10 Steps to Finishing a PhD Thesis or Book in 6 Months
Academic Coaching & Writing
Academic Coaching and Writing is designed to help writers develop an ePortfolio, manage citations, avoid plagiarism, and take action to becoming a better academic writer. They host events and have supplementary resources, along with coaching.
Compelling Feature: Building Your ePortfolio
Revisioner is the writing resource for Appalachian State University and is dense with resources, as well as regularly updated with blog posts. The subjects vary, but are geared toward promoting and developing better writing skills.
Compelling Feature: From the Assistant Director’s Desk
Institute for Writing and Rhetoric
The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric is run from Dartmouth University and emphasizes the values or the Dartmouth writing program. The site gives users access to writing courses, workshops, citation assistance, and opportunities to put their skills to work through English as a Second Language and Teaching Assistantships.
Compelling Feature: Writing Courses
Purdue’s Online Writing Lab, better known as OWL, is a well-known resource for research and citation examples and help, subject specific resources, along with job search writing advice for those close to graduating.
Compelling Feature: General Writing
Southeastern Writing Center Association
The Southeastern Writing Center Association advocates for advancing literacy and promoting the user of professional writing centers for students, faculty, staff and writing professionals in academic and non-academic settings.
Compelling Feature: Conferences
The Cambridge Stratford Study Skills Institute
The Cambridge Stratford Study Skills Institute provides Tutor Training through text and assessments, along with an online eMaster Tutor Training Course. They have orientations designed specifically for freshman, adult, and students with disabilities.
Compelling Feature: Orientation to International Students
PhD Blog (dot) Net
PhD Blog (dot) Net is a blog for airing various ideas and issues with the process of building a thesis.
Compelling Feature: Thesis Talking
PhD Talk touches on random thoughts of the PhD process, but it is presented in a lighthearted and friendly tone.
Compelling Feature: The Creative Process: Essential Components of Creative Acts
Networked Researcher is based in the UK and focuses on the advancement of social media and digital educational technologies for research. They publish regular peer interviews, news and events, and even allow for others to contribute to the site content.
Compelling Feature: News and Events
Research Buzz compiles information and commentary on search engines, databases, digitization projects, and online information collections.
Compelling Feature: Google, Amazon, Delicious, More
Research Guides provides research sources, strategies, discussions, and guides on a variety of sources for writing your paper.
Compelling Feature: All Guides
Critically Analyzing Information Sources
Critically Analyzing Information Sources is run by Cornell University and allows users to evaluate physical information sources even without the physical item in hand.
Compelling Feature: Exhibitions
University of Michigan Research & Technology Guides
University of Michigan’s Research and Technology Guides cover a modest range of subject, along with guides on numerous topics with varying specificity.
Compelling Feature: English 125
Writing Commons aims to help college students currently struggling with their writing abilities, researching, and critical thinking skills. The format is peer-reviewed and puts an emphasis on crowd-sourcing.
Compelling Feature: Courses
Thinking About Writing
Thinking About Writing helps with writing skills for students working towards a Bachelor’s Degree, along with thesis tips, and help with simple grammar and formatting errors.
Compelling Feature: Grammar and Writing
ThinkWrite puts a strong emphasis on building strong writing skills for succeeding in academic environments. The posts typically deal with post-graduate writings, but include undergraduate tips as well.
Compelling Feature: My Thesis: A Quantitative and Qualitative Combo
Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice helps new authors looking to contribute to academic journals, but struggling to get published due to a lack of previous published content.
Compelling Feature: Announcements
Pros Write is a platform for increasing the success of writing in the workplace. News, commentary, documents, and videos all compose the content beneficial to readers.
Compelling Feature: The Genre of Research Articles
Lingua Franca by The Chronicle of Higher Education
Lingua Franca is a blog for academic writing that underlines different topics in the news and provides great insight to the issues. Some categories focus on grammar, others on poetry and style. The blog is effective at conveying points and themes, as well as an insightful tone on issues.
Compelling Feature: Auto-Da-Fe for the Façade of Diacritics
Jo Van Every is a sociologist, with earned PhD, who focuses on improving students writing from the perspective of language and different social science principles.
Compelling Feature: The Dangers of Counting Words
The dissertation or thesis is a different type of project than most people have ever done before they reach grad school. There are many blogs and web pages dedicated to discussing the ins and outs of starting, and more importantly finishing, a dissertation or thesis.
Dissertation Diva is a blog run by Liena Vayzman, who provides advice on the PhD process. She also went through the process and often blogs about experiences and takes questions from readers.
Compelling Feature: Minnesota Graduate School Writing Resources
Thesis Whisperer breaks down a variety of thesis-related subjects in a newspaper-style format. Contributors from around the world make up the extensive range of voices on the site and they also do book reviews.
Compelling Feature: Wormhole Literature
Dissertation Research blogs to help students with research and resources for academic works and has extensive experience providing their expertise over the internet.
Compelling Feature: Graduate Research/Write-In
Doctoral Net is a collection of professors who provide dissertation help services. There are study groups and advice sessions, and free registration.
Compelling Feature: Dissertation Help Services
Navigating the Dissertation
Navigating the Dissertation provides workshops, dissertation groups, and Dissertation Boot Camp, all to help doctoral students achieve the success they desire with their dissertations.
Compelling Feature: Events
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Resource Center
The Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Resource Center helps all masters and doctoral students work on their thesis and better understand the electronic theses and dissertation process.
Compelling Feature: Understanding the ETD Process and Responsibilities Tutorial
Phd Tips and Dissertation Advice
This blog is run by a current PhD candidate working through the Biblical Studies PhD program. He gives tips via processes, organizational resource, software programs, software tips, links, and his own experiences.
Compelling Feature: PhD Resources
Guide to Preparing Your Master’s Thesis
The University of Wisconsin Guide to Preparing Your Master’s Thesis gives detailed instructions, along with tips, for how to properly prepare and deposit your thesis upon completion.
Compelling Feature: Format Requirements
From Tweet to Thesis
From Tweet to Thesis centers its content on the thought process for PhD students coming up with their PhD topic or research question. The posts are about different ideas and processes involved with creating ideas and putting them into reality via dissertations and theses.
Compelling Feature: PhD as Self-Discovery
ABD Survival Guide
All-But-Dissertation Survival Guide is a monthly issue of tips and advice for helping students complete their dissertation or thesis, along with the option to apply for a dissertation coach to assist you.
Compelling Feature: Busting the Top 5 Dissertation Myths
Dissertating helps those working on their dissertations to remain well-maintained and productive. Eating tips, workshops, and advice on defending their dissertation are provided.
Compelling Feature: The Workshop
Sample Dissertation Proposals
Sample Dissertation Proposals is a great source for gaining a better understanding of various themes and ideas in relative fields for working on a dissertation.
Compelling Feature: Towards a Gestic Feminist Dramaturgy
Dissertation Completion Strategies
Dissertation Completion Strategies is run by Dr. Rachna Jain, a dissertation coach with over 10 years’ experience who has worked with more than 405 students on completing their dissertations. Her blog has a newsletter and dissertation speaking services to assist those working on their PhD’s.
Compelling Feature: Dissertation Speaking Services
UNC Writing Center: Dissertations
The UNC Writing Center’s page on Dissertations assists students currently in the dissertation process with advice, handouts, draft assistance, and an FAQ.
Compelling Feature: Submit a Draft Online
The Three Month Thesis
The Three Month Thesis blogs about helping dissertation writers power through bouts of writers blog and lack of motivation. There are pieces of advice for making the PhD process (slightly) easier.
Compelling Feature: Logic Vs Emotion
From citing ancient maps in a bibliography to strictly following the relevant style guide for a specific discipline, there is a lot to keep track of when writing a heavily researched piece of work, and these tools can make it a bit easier.
WriteCheck Blog is a comprehensive site for writing papers and includes plagiarism checks, grammar checks, along with professional training and other useful services.
Compelling Feature: Writing Tip #27: Using Essay Structure for More Than Just Essays
A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices
A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices kind of summarizes its function in its name, but they also include quotes and examples of the various devices.
Compelling Feature: Self Test
APA Style Blog
APA Style Blog provides clarity to those struggling to write in APA format and includes tips with examples for how to adhere closer to APA formatting.
Compelling Feature: Puncuation Junction: Periods and Parentheses
References.net is a tool for locating any sort of reference that may be needed. It categorizes tools like almanacs and dictionaries, but also the news, travel information, music, and languages.
Compelling Feature: Books
Modern Language Association (MLA)
The Modern Language Association is a straight-forward guide to understanding MLA formatting and includes resources and convention information.
Compelling Feature: Publications
Ohio Wesleyan’s Citing Maps resource helps those who are trying to provide references for information from a map, something not typically referenced, although still in need of citing formatting.
Compelling Feature: Digital Collection
How to Cite Film, Video, and Online Media
This site has great examples for incorporating a variety of multimedia sources into citations. Aside from movies, television, and radio, they also explain the significance of citing the format as well.
Compelling Feature: Access
iPad Project Blog
iPad Project Blog increases the awareness of the effectiveness of iPads in classroom settings through teaching impact, classroom awareness, and other areas that are detailed on the page. They break down great educational apps each week and have a forum for discussing education-related iPad topics.
Compelling Feature: Project Team
Academic Productivity highlights how to become more productive through education and it is run by academics and cognitive scientists.
Compelling Feature: Academic Papers Today are Not Meant to Be Discussion Forums
EasyBib helps writers with working on their bibliography through formatting tips, research, and a citation guide.
Compelling Feature: Bibliography
Missed Periods and Other Scares
Missing Periods examines different grammatical errors in each post and offers assistance to those struggling through email help.
Compelling Feature: Grammar Madness
The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style analyzes different usages of literary devices and elaborates on them. They also have search tools for fiction, nonfiction, verses, and a reference search.
Compelling Feature: Titles
The Writing Lab
The Writing Lab Newsletter is an almost-monthly publication that features a variety of advice for any student looking to improve their writing skills.
Compelling Feature: Archives
Modern English Grammar
Modern English Grammar is supplemental content for Daniel Kies, English Professor at College of DuPage, and his Modern English Grammar class. Content varies from grammar structure, to common usage errors, as well as linguistic stylistics, text analysis, and student examples.
Compelling Feature: Grammar: Words and Their Arrangement
Productivity tips, tricks and hacks for academics
Productivity Tips advises those looking to optimize their workload for post-graduate classes and understanding how to formulate productivity.
Compelling Feature: Articles
The Chicago Manual of Style Online
The Chicago Manual of Style provides recommendations on editorial style, along with publishing practice, and tips for writing in the digital age.
Compelling Feature: Contents
Advice on Research and Writing
Advice on Research and Writing compiles tips from numerous authors on subjects such as writing and publishing, research skills, speaking, career development, and more.
Compelling Feature: How to Organize Your Thesis
The Plagiarism Checker
The Plagiarism Checker has an extremely straightforward format that simply features a window to paste a student’s paper or homework to see if it connects to any other papers.
Compelling Feature: Subscribe
Kairos is an open-access online journal with currently 45,000 readers per month. The content explores rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy.
Compelling Feature: From Panel to Gallery
Best Practices in Citation of Cartographic Materials
University of Waterloo’s Best Practices in Citation of Cartographic Materials helps with citing maps, atlases, globes, and aerial or satellite imagery.
Compelling Feature: US and World Data
Bibme is a resource for making bibliographies and citations, along with tips on various formats, such as APA and MPA.
Compelling Feature: Citation Guide
Presentation Zen blogs on professional presentation design and gives advice that forms supplementary content to his array of published books.
Compelling Feature: Storytelling, & the Power of First-Person Narrative
Duplichecker provides high quality web content for websites in the form of plagiarism detection software.
Compelling Feature: Comparison Search
Peer Centered is a collaborative space for writing tutors and consultants to discuss various issues in the community of writer center assistants.
Compelling Feature: Writers,Tutors, and the Humanity that Exists Between Them
The only surefire way to get help is to ask for it, and many colleges and universities have writing centers dedicated to helping students who get stuck in the middle of a big writing project. There are also online-only writing centers that can be accessed by just about anyone.
Writing at SNL
Writing at SNL is designed to assist adults going to school with customized programs that cater to different abilities and experiences, along with adding new knowledge and building new skills.
Compelling Feature: Writing Help
Another Word is the blog for the Writing Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The posts provide writing tips, in written and podcast form, commentary from students and teachers, and its function is to try to connect more with the community.
Compelling Feature: Shame and the Writing Center
Emory Writing Center
Emory Writing Center uses their blog to forecast upcoming events and workshops for their students. Currently, they are preparing for Spring programs to begin over the coming weeks.
Compelling Feature: EWC Announces Writing Boot Camp
Center for Writing Excellence
The Center for Writing Excellence assists students at Montclair State University with grammar, spelling, and other writing problems. Each post focuses on a different issue, all centered around increasing the writing abilities of its students.
Compelling Feature: Grammar: Check, Please
The University of Kentucky Writing Center
The University of Kentucky Writing Center’s site is a comprehensive tool for putting students in contact with valuable resources to encourage a more educated writing community at the university. The website itself features tutorials, workshops, document design, and even website creation.
Compelling Feature: For Students
The Writing Center at the University of Richmond
The Writing Center at the University of Richmond uses their website to inform students of upcoming writing workshops, connect with other writers via Facebook, inform on how to become a writing consultant, along with major-specific resources.
Compelling Feature: Writer’s Web
University of Utah Writing Center
University of Utah’s Writing Center is a source for connecting students with valuable resources for assisting them in writing. The website features services for students, along with news and writing resources.
Compelling Feature: Student Services
Department of Anthropology: Writing Across Boundaries
Durham University’s Department of Anthropology has a section devoted to advancing intellectual and social issues that eventually produce many worthwhile texts. They host workshops and seminars on writing.
Compelling Feature: Writing on Writing
International Writing Centers Association
The International Writing Centers Association is the governing body for a network of writing centers across the world and provides a plethora of resources, links, and journals to better compile content for students.
Compelling Feature: Resources
“Publish or perish” is the axiom many academics live by. If you aren’t publishing research, you aren’t making a name for yourself in your field, and your career is on thin ice. These sites on academic publishing offer varying perspectives on the publication of educational material and scholarly research.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Jessica Kingsley Publishers is an independent publisher aimed at publishing books for areas like Art Therapy, Autism, Disability, Education, and other areas aimed at increasing knowledge on particular issues.
Compelling Feature: Ordering
Ashgate is a book publishing company that focuses on educational material for a range of subjects typically found in a university.
Compelling Feature: Ashgate Reference
Carolina Academic Press
Carolina Academic Press is primarily a law publisher, but has recently branched into anthropology, history, politics, sociology, and a few other academic subjects.
Compelling Feature: Publish With Us
Publishing Perspectives is a source for discussing news in the book community and commentary on the state of books.
Compelling Feature: Discussion
Brepols Publishers focuses on works from Antiquity, Middle Ages, and the Early Modern period. The chief aim of the publishing group is to better educate people on Europe’s roots, culturally, and inform on the influence of historical works.
Compelling Feature: Catalogue
Wiley is a publishing company whose subjects cover the entire breadth of academia. In addition to a wide variety of subjects, they are also an imprint for the “For Dummies” brand, among others.
Compelling Feature: Subjects
Publetariat is focused on the independent author. Due to the rising tide of technology, self-publishing is an increasingly popular method for the output of literature and associated works.
Compelling Feature: Why I Chose An Assisted Self-Publishing Service
Some Interesting Graphic Design Dissertation Ideas
If you are writing your dissertation in graphic design, but are in need of potential ideas, consider the list below. Remember to evaluate each potential idea and to mold it to your project. It might benefit you to do some research on at least four different topics before you start so that you can find which topic angle you want to use. You can verify too whether there exists adequate information on the topic or adequate resources on the topic before you start. The last thing you want is to start working on a topic only to hit a dead end and have to start all over:
- Consider writing about the different types of software used in graphic design
- Write about animation when using flash
- Discuss different utilization and techniques for Adobe software
- Write about the career opportunities within this field
- Discuss different visual techniques which someone in this field can use to enhance a website
- Consider writing about the effect that graphic design has currently had on popular culture, or the influence it has had previously on consumerism
- Why graphic design is important in communication and business
- How different graphics and typographies are used in different interfaces
- How a company can brand their design with graphic designs
- There are different key topics which might entice you as well including the following:
- Consider writing about Design in general
- Consider writing about Typography
- New media
- Web graphic design
- Communication design
- Desktop publishing
- Consider writing about Environmental graphic design
- Information design
- Industrial design
- Interface design
- Consider writing about Motion design
- Technical writing
- Marketing communications
- Consider writing about Information design
If those topics do not inspire you then consider something from your textbooks or something that was covered during a course lecture which you found particularly interesting. This can give you insight into a topic that you might otherwise have missed or overlooked. Look out for ideas from headings and subheadings, ideas which you wanted to previously learn more about but never had the chance to or ideas which you did learn more about, but you really enjoyed and would love to pursue on a deeper academic level. All of these things can make for the best potential ideas for your next paper and you should never rule anything out until you have conducted preliminary research on the topics and sought approval from your professor on the idea.