All Stanford dissertations and theses are listed in SearchWorks. (From the home page, click the “Dissertations & theses” link under Featured resources. Limit any search result by selecting "Thesis/Dissertation” under Genre in the left column.)
Most Stanford dissertations written between 1989 and 2009 are available as PDFs from Proquest. You can access these directly from Dissertations & Theses @ Stanford or from the Searchworks record.
If the thesis or dissertation was filed in a digital format (this option was available starting in November 2009) it may not be indexed in the Dissertations & Theses @ Stanford database, but it will be available through a direct link in the SearchWorks record and from Google. If the student opted for embargo restrictions, some of or the entire dissertation may not be available for up to five years after the submission date.
You can submit a request to view a print copy of a dissertation in the Special Collections & University Archives department (library use only). The SearchWorks record will indicate if there is a circulating print copy that you can check out.
You can purchase copies of Stanford dissertations completed before 2010 via UMI Dissertation Express from ProQuest.
Try first to look in Google Scholar and Dissertations & Theses Global Full Text (above) for digital fulltext of a dissertation. Many universities are now posting dissertations in repositories (like Digital Commons). Google Scholar includes Digital Commons and other repositories in its search. If that doesn't work, you might also try a regular Google search.
An effective way to search for the dissertation in Google Scholar or Google is to place the title in quotes, followed by the author last name. Example search: "Self-Efficacy and Instructional Leadership" Helber
For older dissertations, you may need to try to interlibrary loan the dissertation. You can get an idea of whether the dissertation is at a library by searching OCLC WorldCat. Or go to the web site for the library of the university where the author did the dissertation. Unfortunately, sometimes dissertations are not available via interlibrary loan. As a last resort, you may be able to purchase dissertations from ProQuest--see DissertationExpress link below.