Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joseph M. Moxley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James A. Inman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Debra Jacobs, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rosann Webb Collins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barry Maid, Ph.D.


etd, electronic theses and dissertations, graduate education, rhetoric and composition, digital publication of research


Electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) are an evolving genre of graduate student research that is gaining widespread acceptance among universities in the international community. ETDs are also beginning to diffuse slowly among American universities; however, a number of issues continue to work against more rapid adoption among intitutions in the United States. This dissertation examines ETDs as an evolving electronic research genre by (1) historicizing the situated development of its predecessor, the traditional print dissertation, in nineteenth century German and American Universities; (2) reporting on the current state of the Networked Digital Library of Electronic Theses and Dissertations, an initiative of Virginia Polytechnic University; (3) analyzing ETDs as a technological innovation undergoing the diffusion process according to Emmet Roger's Diffusion of Innovation Theory; and (4) presenting the results of an ETD pilot project case study carried out at the University of South Florida.