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*School of Business & Economics: Get Started with NU Library

Learn how to navigate the library website, databases, and more!

Doctoral Consultations

Doctoral Consultations are live, one-on-one sessions that provide in-depth, high-level, and customized research assistance with a reference librarian. These sessions are most beneficial for students working on a capstone, thesis, or dissertation.  

Helpful NU Resources

Weekly Assistance Opportunity

Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific

Join Coach Dr. Justin Geiger from the Academic Success Center and Business Librarian Stephanie Johnson anytime during this two-hour session to ask questions, conduct research, or just have a place for accountability.

Registration is not required. Come and go as you please, but be sure you come and see us! Click the image to join!

Your Librarian

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Stephanie Johnson

Locating Dissertations & Theses

Researching similar dissertations and theses is an important step for graduate students. It can help ensure that your research is original, learn from the work of other students, locate additional resources on your topic, and identify potential research designs, frameworks, and data collection instruments.

Defining a Research Problem

A proper research problem can be defined as a specific, evidence-based, real-life issue faced by certain people or organizations that have significant negative implications for the involved parties. This means that you will need to support your research problem with scholarly literature and often statistics.

  • A NavigatorSearch is the best starting point for finding scholarly literature on your research problem. To ensure that your search results are from scholarly/peer-reviewed journals, check the limit box on the search page.
  • For help determining whether a scholarly journal is peer-reviewed, click here to review the FAQ. For additional guidance on finding scholarly articles, see the Preparing to Search Guide

Since many statistics are gathered by national statistical organizations and made freely available online, you may need to supplement your NavigatorSearch results with Google searches.

  • The Library also provides Statista, a research database containing data statistics.
  • For additional guidance on finding statistics, see the Statistics Guide.

Researching Theoretical Frameworks

A strong theoretical or conceptual framework provides a foundation for graduate research, helps you to interpret your findings in a meaningful way, and allows you to demonstrate the relevance and significance of your work. 

  • You can learn more about the framework requirements for NU dissertations in the Dissertation Center and Applied Doctoral Center.
  • Remember to discuss possible frameworks with your Dissertation Chair to ensure they align with your study.

Explore possible frameworks within the literature to help you identify what framework works best for your research.

  • Using the Advanced Search screen in NavigatorSearch will allow you to include search terms related to theory as in the example search and selected article below.

Screenshot of NavigatorSearch Advanced Search for "emergency remote teaching" AND "classroom management" AND "theoretical framework"Screenshot of an article abstract identifying the theoretical frameworks used in the study

Describing Methodology and Design

Graduate students must describe their research methodology and design and elaborate upon their appropriateness in relation to the study problem, purpose, and research questions. Course resources are often a great way to learn about methodology and design.

  • For further support, the Library provides SAGE Research Methods which includes books, reference works, journal articles, datasets, cases, and instructional videos focused on research methodology and design.
  • Using the menu bar, you may browse content by topic, discipline, or content type. You may also use the Advanced Search option to search for resources by method as shown below. Your search results page includes a brief definition of the method searched followed by search results.

.Screenshot of the Sage Research Methods advanced search screen with case study entered as the method.

Data Collection Instruments

The method of data collection for your dissertation or thesis will be driven by your research methodology and design.

Common data collection instruments include:

  • interview or focus group questions,
  • survey or questionnaire,
  • observation sheet, and
  • curriculum or training materials for an educational intervention.

Typically, NU students will locate and use (with permission) an existing instrument from scholarly literature rather than designing their own instrument.

A great way to discover instruments relevant to your research problem is to carefully read the "Methods" section in scholarly journal articles.

  • Using the NavigatorSearch Advanced Search screen will allow you to include the type of data collection instrument you are looking for as in the example below.

NavigatorSearch screenshot showing search for "virtual teams" AND communication AND (interview or "focus group")