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CLINICAL RESEARCH: Research Guide | Organize & Write

Resource suggestions, search tips, and other help resources for clinical research.

Online Research & Instruction Librarian

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Jeanie Winkelmann
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In This Section

magnifying glass iconIn this section, you'll find:

Find Theses & Dissertations

Option 1: Library Databases

We have a few library databases that contain theses and dissertations, although full-text options can be somewhat limited.

Option 2: Institutional Repositories through Google

Your next option is to search Google, specifically targeting educational institutional repositories, or IRs. Many universities have IRs where faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students can submit capstone work like theses and dissertations. If you find citations for relevant dissertations in library databases, you might be able to find the full text through the publishing institution's IR.


Add keywords and site limiters

To search broadly for dissertations in Google, add dissertation or thesis and to whatever subject you're looking for.

  • For example, search: dialectical behavioral therapy dissertation

Adding to your search limits the sites that Google will comb through to only sites that end in .edu - so, the sites of educational institutions. You will still have to examine a few of the results to see if they really are theses and not dissertations (but you may even be able to tell from the search results list by looking at the gray blurbs under each result).

Staying Organized

Taking good research notes is a key part of staying organized.


Keep track of:

  • What search terms or keywords you used
  • Where you were searching (database names, the library catalog, Google, etc.)
  • When you were searching - databases and websites are constantly removing and adding content, and links change or break
  • Full citation information for everything you save
  • Permalinks or stable URLs (or DOIs) so you can get back to what you found


Have a system for:

  • Organizing the articles you download, including naming PDFs (usually the file name automatically assigned at download is not helpful - you want to be able to quickly identify and find the articles you're using in your research) 
  • Keeping track of summaries, quotes, or paraphrases from your sources, including exactly what pages those quotes or paraphrases come from


Citation managers are sometimes good tools for these types of notes, but using a text document or spreadsheet and folders on your computer, OneDrive, or Google Drive can work just as well. The important thing is finding a system that works for you, and then using it consistently.

Citation managers can help you keep track of large amounts of sources, as well as generate references lists and in-text citations. They can save you a lot of time and effort as you compile resources and integrate them into your writing.

Zotero logoZotero

Zotero is a free bibliographic manager available as a desktop application and browser plugin. Zotero collects, manages, and cites research from multiple types of sources and also has file management and notetaking capabilities. Through Zotero you can organize your research into different folders for different projects and create bibliographies using Word or OpenOffice. Zotero has a large user community with documentation and video tutorials to help you get started.

Mendeley logoMendeley

Mendeley is another free reference manager that allows you to manage citations and PDFs. It includes plugins for Word and OpenOffice to create citations and/or bibliographies as you write. Unlike other similar tools, Mendeley is a social networking tool that allows you to connect and share with other researchers and students - you can even login via Facebook. 

Inspiration & Advice: Writing & Research Guides

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Foundations of Clinical Research

Provides the foundations that are necessary for finding and interpreting research evidence across all healthcare professions, revised to reflect the most current changes in the field including the growing emphasis on evidence-based practice (EBP) and a chapter on systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Research for the Health Professional

Your guide to research and evidence-based practice. This classic text explains the hows and whys of conducting and writing a research project.

Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, & Mixed Methods Approaches

Compares qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design. Includes key elements of the research process, a literature review, an assessment of theory in research applications, and reflections about the importance of ethics in scholarly inquiry.

Dissertations and Theses from Start to Finish: Psychology & Related Fields

The authoritative guide to dissertations and theses, now updated and revised to reflect changes to the APA's Publication Manual, Seventh Edition. ebook

Research Methods in Clinical Psychology

A concise and accessible review of the thoughts and methods which relate to undertaking research, and evaluating research and clinical treatment. ebook

A Counselor's Guide to the Dissertation Process

Offers step-by-step guidance on planning, writing, and defending a dissertation. Each chapter answers commonly asked questions, contains a checklist for each part of the dissertation, provides a summary of key points, and lists additional resources. ebook

Destination Dissertation

Offers concrete and efficient processes for completing parts of the dissertation where students tend to get stuck. For students in all disciplines and for both quantitative and qualitative dissertations. ebook