Difference Between a Research Paper, Dissertation and Thesis

Do have a rough time understanding the difference between a dissertation and a thesis, and then this article will address all your fears. Those who register to pursue a Ph.D. program get obligated to write a dissertation, research paper, or a thesis. This article will also help you understand the difference between a research paper, dissertation, and a thesis paper.

This article will address your fears if you are scratching your head to know the difference between dissertation and thesis. When you enroll in graduate school or register for a Ph.D. degree, then you must write a dissertation, research paper, or thesis. This article will get to know the difference between a research paper, dissertation, and thesis.

  • A dissertation is a document written for an award of University diploma or degree and even a Ph.D. course
  • A thesis is a document written by students when pursuing higher education to award a qualification or academic degree.
  • A research paper is an academic essay written to meet the requirements for a class. Here students do independent research and describe their findings. Besides, the student presents his or her arguments and evaluation on the topic you are studying.

All three have similar internal structures. Their structure includes the following introduction, literature review, methodology, results and findings, discussions, and conclusion.

Difference between thesis and dissertation

  1. For a thesis, you need to gather information, while for a dissertation, you must research on your own
  2. A thesis is usually shorter and does not take time to complete, while a dissertation is relatively long and takes a lot of time.
  3. In a dissertation, you must have background knowledge for discoveries so that you conclude. However, for a thesis, you require to include a hypothesis in your research work.
  4. Students might get a scholarship while writing a thesis, but it is very different for dissertation writing.
  5. In the thesis, students focus primarily on crucial arguments to prove their standpoint, while on a dissertation, students need to focus on their background work.
  6. For a dissertation, students need novel findings to existing literature, while in a thesis, students use their research work to argue their perspective.
  7. A dissertation is similar to an academic book, whereas a thesis is similar to an academic research paper.
  8. A dissertation comprises of arguments and theories that hinge on novel research. Similarly, data gathered for a thesis depends on the analysis of the hypothesis.

Structural differences between a dissertation and a thesis

In this section, you will get to understand the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. It is common knowledge that a thesis is a research paper for graduates. While writing a thesis, students have to research, analyze the topic then comment on the collected information. As a student, you can relate to the issue you are studying. Thesis writing requires critical thinking and the collection of data. Again, for a thesis, students need to choose the subject relevant to them.

Students do all the research work by themselves as the advisor will provide limited advice in thesis writing. On the other hand, the dissertation-writing student refers to other researchers’ work as guidance to their work. Students must prove their unique concept, theory, or hypothesis. A dissertation is relatively longer than a thesis since it involves a lot of research information. You have to mention all the details for the dissertation proposal and include the methods for gathering information. Again, you have to cite all the sources of your data. A dissertation is a complex research work usually longer in size in comparison to a thesis. Since a dissertation is complex, students typically receive advice from a faculty member.

Every University and even school within the University usually has specific guidelines for preparing their research paper, dissertation, or thesis. Besides this, they are also detailed on the contents of the dissertation. They also have policies for the structure of the dissertation. The referencing style and notation also differ a great deal.

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