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Organizing, describing, analyzing, and retrieving the dissertation literature in special education : a case study using microcomputer technology to develop a personal information retrieval system Frie, Gudrun Louise


This study analyzed special education dissertations published in Dissertation Abstracts International, 1980 to 1985. Keywords, describing the substantive content of each abstract and title, were assigned according to principles used in controlled and natural language indexing. A bibliometric analysis was performed to identify a core vocabulary representing frequent concepts and ideas and the most productive institutions awarding doctorates in special education. Descriptive and bivariate (chi square) analyses were also conducted illustrating relationships between demographic variables: year of completion, sex of author, degree awarded, page length, institution; and content variables: category of special education, research type, and data analysis technique. Finally, a microcomputer information retrieval system was developed to provide better access to the dissertation literature. Results indicated that a greater number of women choose to do doctoral work, graduate with Ph.D. degrees and write longer theses. The keyword index illustrated a wide diversity of topics being pursued. The microcomputer personal information retrieval system is multifaceted, is available for searching, may describe the vocabulary, and will accommodate the growing dissertation base in special education.

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