I have searched the Institutional Repository and found the exact dissertation that would help me in my research planning. Why can't I open the full text?
Doctoral and Masters graduates have proprietary control of their work, including manuscripts completed in the process of earning their degrees. While most agree to make their work accessible to the public through electronic access to their manuscripts in the repository, some choose not to do so.
These authors have embargoed access to the full text of their work in the Repository. This is why you cannot open their full text links.
Often doctoral graduates use the research from their dissertation to launch their careers as scholarly authors. So they restrict access to their findings until they have had time to publish articles and gain noteriety for their work in peer reviewed journals.
But I really need access to this research. Is there anything that can be done?
You can ask the University Archivist to contact the author on you behalf and request permission for limited access to the manuscript. If granted, you will have to abide by whatever stipulations the author sets as a condition of access.
Permission is not guaranteed. The author may have compelling reasons to limit access (see above). And if access is declined, no further steps can be taken.
How can I find dissertations and theses from other academic institutions?
Several commercial vendors provide specialized databases focused on unpublished manuscripts of theses and dissertations, most notably:
Proquest Dissertations and Theses
WorldCat Dissertations and Theses
However, coverage of dissertation and thesis literature across the board is patchy, parochialized, and inconsistent.
So don't assume that by searching the above resources, you have comprehensively covered the thesis and dissertation literature relating to your topic in its entirety.
Other resources you will need to consult (depending on your topic) for a comprehensive search may include the following:
Subject specialist databases (many have limited coverage of this literature):
America: History & Life (1943-2009)
Business Source Complete (1988-2012)
CINAHL Complete (1976-present)
Historical Abstracts (1978-2008)
MLA Directory of Periodicals (1924-pres.)
Music Index (1971-2009)
RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (1800-pres.)
SocINDEX with Full Text (1902-2005)
All of the above provide varying levels of dissertation/thesis covering of their disciplines.
These databases will help you determine what thesis/dissertation literature has been produced in your field of interest.
To access the full text (where available), you may need to consult the Institutional Repository of the University where the research was produced (if the full text is not available in ProQuest Dissertations).
Can I request dissertations and theses from other institutions on Interlibrary Loan?
It is possible to request these items on interlibrary loan.¹
However, the likelihood of receiving such items on interlibrary loan is low. If the item is held as an electronic copy, file size may prohibit email transmission. And many institutions do not circulate these items as a matter of policy.
To request a dissertation or thesis on interlibrary loan, initiate an ILLIAD electronic ILL request as you would for any other item.
Click this ILLIAD link to view instructions on initiating an ILLIAD request.
¹ Bear in mind though that access to unpublished thesis and dissertation literature at other institutions may be subject to the same author-imposed restrictions governing access to documents in the UT Tyler repository.