In the Philippines, an academic thesis is named by the degree, such as bachelor/undergraduate thesis or masteral thesis. However, in Philippine English , the term doctorate is typically replaced with doctoral (as in the case of "doctoral dissertation"), though in official documentation the former is still used. The terms thesis and dissertation are commonly used interchangeably in everyday language yet it generally understood that a thesis refers to bachelor/undergraduate and master academic work while a dissertation is named for doctorate work.

A primary goal of ETD initiatives is to make the research and scholarship conducted by graduate students freely and openly accessible. Another goal is to give future academics opportunities to prepare electronic works such as book chapters, journal articles, and conference presentations, assuming that they will be publishing electronically in the future also. Yet another goal is to expand the medium of expression for graduate research and scholarship to more than words and figures that can be reproduced on paper, to other media, including audio and video. There are awards available for outstanding ETDs.

A sociologist and advisor to many graduate students, Sternberg focuses on moving the student from ABD to . His chapters explore topic selection, filing systems, proposal-writing, research, writing, committee relations, “the Dissertation Dumps,” the defense, and the post-defense uses of the dissertation. Sternberg does strike somewhat of a balance between the “buck up” school that says “Just write the thing and quite whining” and the sympathetic school that is inclined to tell you “it’s okay,” hold your hand, and validate your feelings. On the whole, his suggestions tend to center around developing a plan for completion and adhering to it despite doubts, rather than exploring the doubts themselves in great depth. Some of his advice may seem dated. For example, in discussing sexism, he writes “deep-rooted sexism is still a fact of graduate university structure and hierarchy” that can be “exploited by a woman.” He concludes that the “feminist ABD has to suspend her struggle for that ongoing cause during the two years of the dissertation struggle.” (p. 150)