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ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

A tutorial on how to successfully use the functions of ProQuest Dissertations & Theses and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

Browsing ProQuest (General)

To browse the items in all of ProQuest's databases, click on the "Browse" tab on the home page.  This will take you to a browsing page with items listed alphabetically and chronologically.

ProQuest Theses & Dissertations Browsing Page (General)

pq browsing page


The blue plus sign (+) before each work opens a secondary list, which categorizes works under that subject, number, location, or letter.  These are organized by country, publisher, or university of origin.  The "view documents" link will take you to a separate page with all items listed under that category/subject.  The page shows a profile of each item with abstracts, citation information, and where to retrieve the item.


Organization of Works List


organization of works list


"View Documents" Page


view documents page

Similar to the basic search results page, the documents page lists all works that fit under the chosen category.   You can retrieve the items from this page through the "Find It!" icon, "Preview - PDF" and "Full - Text PDF" options.  Remember that not all options may be available for the work you would like to retrieve.  For ways to retrieve items, see the Retrieving Items from ProQuest page.

Browsing Publications in ProQuest

The second way to browse items on ProQuest is by publication.  This will exclude most theses and dissertations because many are not professionally published.  To access publication browsing, click on the "Publications" tab at the top of the home page.  From there, you will see a list of all publications in ProQuest.  You can view them by summary, title, or alphabetically or search for a specific publication by using the search bar.  If you use the search bar, you can refine your results by using the filters on the left side.  You can filter your results by:

  • Source type (scholarly journals, magazines, trade journals, reports, newspapers, books, etc.)
  • Publication subject
  • Language
  • Publisher
  • Database

Publications Browsing Page

publications browsing page

Basic Searching in ProQuest

Searching for sources on ProQuest is like using other databases that Pfeiffer Library offers.  To begin searching, type a topic or keyword into the search bar, located on the home page.  There is also the advanced search option, which allows you to search by more specific criteria.  If you are on campus, basic searching will include content from all available databases.  If you are off campus, the A-Z list link will search the database you selected.  If you want to change your selected databases before conducting a search, click on the "Databases" tab.  Select the databases you want to search using the checkboxes, then click "Use selected databases."  This will take you back to the basic search page with your selections applied.  If you are only searching one database, the database title will display at the top of the page.


ProQuest "Databases" Tab

pq databases tab

ProQuest Basic Search Page

pq basic search page

After selecting your databases, you can narrow down your search or limit it to only certain types of resources by selecting any of the filters above the search bar (scholarly journals, books, videos & audio, dissertations & theses, etc.)  If you click on the "More" option, you can also search for the following:

  •      Newspapers
  •      Historical Newspapers
  •      Magazines
  •      Trade Journals
  •      Reports
  •      Conference Papers & Proceedings
  •      Working Papers
  •      Other Sources

After selecting your filters, you can also select whether you want only full-text articles and/or peer reviewed content.  Peer review indicates scholarly content, so it is recommended that you use this filter in your searches.

Advanced Searching in ProQuest

The "advanced search" option lets you narrow down results even further by using Boolean terms (and, or, not) and searching for terms in specific sections of text.  It can search for terms in the following parts of a result:

  • Anywhere
  • Anywhere except full-text - NOFT
  • Abstract - AB
  • All subjects & indexing - SU
  • Subject heading - MAIN SUBJECT
  • Company/organization - ORG
  • Location - LOC
  • Person - PER
  • Author - AU
  • Document text - FT
  • Document title - TI
  • Publication title - PUB
  • Image Caption - CAP
  • NAICS code - NAICS
  • Product - NP
  • Section - SEC

The capital letters following each filter are the database's way of telling the system to search with that filter.  You can select up to two filters for a search and one Boolean term.  Boolean terms let you include or exclude terms in a search by using "and, or, not" in between search terms.  These are common among databases and are very helpful in narrowing searches easily.

Other filters on the advanced search page are located below the search bar:

  • Limit to (full-text and/or peer-reviewed) - You can check off either or both of these options.
  • Publication date
  • Advisor
  • Author
  • University/institution
  • Index term (keyword)
  • Subject heading (all)
  • Manuscript type
  • Language

If you want to find out if a specific term is included in a filter, you can click on "Look up" on the right side of the filter.  Type in the term you are looking for, and it will show if it is included in the filter.  After locating the term, you can select it to be included in your search by clicking the check mark and close the window.  In some cases, you may find that a term you are searching for may not be included.  This means that the database has no results related to that particular field or term.  For example, if you want to know if there is anything written by a certain author in the database, this would be an easy way to know.  It is important to get creative with your search terms by using synonyms because it will thoroughly search the database for items related to your topic.

The last filter on this page is the "Results page options" at the bottom of the page.  These let you select how the database will display your search results.  You can choose how many results per page and sort them by relevance or date.


Advanced Search Page

advanced search page

Understanding Your Search Results

After typing in your search terms/criteria, the search results page will display.  Any key words you included in the search box will be highlighted in yellow.  The page contains brief profiles of each result pertaining to your search criteria.  This includes the type of resource (magazine, journal article, etc.), abstract/details (a brief description of the source), a preview (if available), and citation information.  In some cases, there will be a link to the full text on this page (Full text, or Full text - PDF).  If there is no link, then there are other ways to locate the item.  For ways to retrieve items in ProQuest, see the Retrieving Items from ProQuest page.


Search Results List and Item Profiles

search results list and item profiles


If you want to save a search result, click the check mark box next to the source's image.  You can save as many as you would like and they will be saved in the "Selected Items" folder in the top right corner of the screen.  When you view your "Selected items" folder, it will show all the items you saved.  You have the option to save them to your My Research account, but you will need to log in first.


"Selected Items" Folder

selected items folder

Export a Citation, Abstract, or Index from Search Results

Even if the item is unavailable, users can still retrieve the bibliographic, index, and abstract information from a search result.  This can be helpful when you may need to look elsewhere for the item because the bibliographic information does not change.  In the top right corner of the search results page, there are four teal icons.  These allow you to download the source's bibliographic information in several different ways.  Clicking on the icon with 3 dots opens up all potential save options.  They are organized by type of storage, which are:

  • Most Popular - the most commonly used save options, such as download preview, order a copy, cite, email, print, save to My Research (your ProQuest account), and add to selected items (connected to any saved item folders in your My Research account).


  • Citation Export - Extracts the citation/bibliographic information from the source to a bibliography management program.  It can be exported to citation management software such as EasyBib or RefWorks, or as an RIS file.  RIS files are a universal way to import source information into other reference management software.


  • Other Options - export information as PDF, as a Microsoft Excel file (.xls), as a Microsoft Word document (.doc), or as text only (.txt).


All Save Options Window

all save options window


Exporting Citation/Abstract/Index Information as a Save File

To export citation, abstract, or index information to an external file on your computer or laptop, a form will pop up in a separate window where you select the file's save destination and what information you want to save.  It will ask if you want to file to include recent searches, a cover page/header, a table of contents, or document numbering.  All of these are optional and should only be added if it will assist you in your organization and research.


Export/Save Window

export save window


Exporting Citation/Abstract/Index Information to External Website

To export citation information to reference management software, such as EasyBib or RefWorks:

1. Click on the option you want to use under "Citation Export.  The same Export/Save window will appear.

2. From the dropdown menu, select an output (RefWorks or EasyBib).

3. Select which content you want to export (abstract, index information, and/or citation).

4. Click "Continue."

5. When you click "Continue," the website you selected will open up in a browser window.  If you have an account with the site, it will ask you to log in to your RefWorks or EasyBib account.  Once you log in, it will load the information to your account.

Other Citation Options

If you do not use the citation options under the "All Options" icon, you can find other options located to the left of the "All Save Options" icon.  They are copy and pasting the citation directly into your document, emailing a copy of the citation to yourself, or printing a physical version of the citation.  When you click on each option, a secondary window will display.  Follow the directions and fill in the fields in each window to receive your citation.


Copy and Paste Citation Window

cite window

To copy and paste a citation directly to your document, click on the "Copy" icon.


Email Citation Form

email citation form

To send a citation to an email address:

  1. Click on the source you want to cite.
  2. On the right side of the page, click on the teal "Email" icon.
  3. Fill out the email form with your email address and name.  You can change the subject of the email and add an additional message, but this is optional.
  4. Click on "Continue."


Print Citation Window

print window

Print a citation from the database by clicking the "Continue" icon on the print screen.