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Characteristics of Education Doctoral Dissertation References: An Inter-Institutional Analysis of Review of Literature Citations

Publication Date
  • Ba. Use And Impact Of Information.
  • Bb. Bibliometric Methods.
  • Bg. Information Dissemination And Diffusion.
  • Design
  • Education


This study had two purposes: to examine the expertise of doctoral students in their use of the scholarly literature and to investigate the use of citation analysis as a tool for collection development. Analysis of 1,842 coded citations gleaned from 30 education dissertations awarded in 2000 from 3 institutions in the United States revealed that journal articles, at 45%, were cited most frequently, followed by monographs (33.9%) and "other" (18.3%), with magazines and Web sites contributing less than 2% each of the total material types cited. The study examined 858 journal and magazine citations, which were found in 239 unique titles. A relatively small number of journals contained a high percentage of the references found in the dissertations analyzed. Based on a design by D. Kohl and L. Wilson (1986), dissertation citations were also scored for scholarliness, currency, and appropriateness of format, and scores on the three criteria were averaged to arrive at a quality rating. Results of interinstitutional comparisons revealed a significant amount of variation and were considered in conjunction with institutional characteristics and published criteria for quality bibliographies. The data suggest that the assumption of doctoral student expertise in their use of the scholarly literature may be overstated and should be examined in relation to their preparation for professional status. For purposes of developing a library's research collection, a core list of titles, generated on the basis of multiple, rather than single, institutional analysis is indicated. (Contains 8 figures, 11 tables, and 28 references.)

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