Thesis vs. Dissertation: Similarities and Differences
You probably have heard your lecturers speak to you about writing a dissertation or thesis, and you wonder what that means. That’s because students are required to complete at least a research paper to graduate.
It’s a good thing that you are thinking ahead and seeking to know the difference between the two research types. In the past, a master’s degree student writing a thesis is expected to write an original research paper based on a specific proposition.
After this, he reads the thesis paper to his committee. He then sits in silence, waiting, while members of the committee review the things he said point by point. The goal here is to ascertain the student’s idea and how well he can arrange and clearly express his points.
However, a student who wishes to further in the academic system would pursue a dissertation. The dissertation is more of a literature review. Therefore, he is to read widely in a specific area and do proper writing of his findings, discussing various authorities’ opinions concerning the subject matter.
Today, the narrative has changed, which is the cause of the confusion and misappropriation of terms. What are we talking about when we refer to a thesis or a dissertation? Do the words we use have an impact on what we eventually write?
This guide will compare a dissertation and a thesis by finding out the similarities and differences between them.
- What is a Dissertation and a Thesis?
- Similarities between a Dissertation and a Thesis
- Differences between a Dissertation and a Thesis
What is a Dissertation and a Thesis?
It sometimes feels that the terms thesis and dissertation get used interchangeably. Many sometimes ask how your thesis is going, not knowing you’re working on an essay, and vice versa. To complicate matters, some institutions or even departments use the terms interchangeably.
However, any dissertation or thesis document aims to come up with a unique piece of a research paper based on a clearly defined topic.
Therefore, a dissertation is a large piece of research work usually required of students at the end of their degree. It is an academic argument, a bit of scholarly writing based upon research personally carried out.
The dissertation’s goal is to show the student’s ability to cope with the piece of information using it to form a case or sensible argument that addresses already stated questions or hypotheses. It brings together all the skills a student has learned through their degree days.
On the other hand, a thesis is the academic writing required of students after their master’s degree. Though it is a research paper, it only involves crafting out analytical points from the research works others have done.
With a thesis paper, you declare what you believe and intend to prove and then read widely on the subject, gathering points to support your stand. This type of research work allows masters-level students to show their professional capabilities in their choice of field.
Usually, upon completing the thesis, students must defend their work to a committee of two or more from the faculty or department. The committee reviews the thesis statement and checks if the given points prove it.
Similarities between a Dissertation and a Thesis
Most people use the terms thesis and dissertation interchangeably, showing that there are some similarities between the two. That some departments do the same proves it even further. Let’s discuss some of the similarities between them.
1. Same Purpose
Both a thesis and a dissertation have the same purpose: to prove a point or hypothesis, as popularly called, either from self or already conducted research.
2. Choose a Topic
You need to choose a topic, regardless of the type of research paper you want to write. You then create an intricate work around the issue to demonstrate your level of knowledge and skills you have gotten throughout your year of study.
3. Similar Defendable Structure and Format
Both research papers have similar structure and format, which you have to defend upon completion to badge a specific academic degree.
4. Create a Proposal
Both papers require that you present a proposal before writing the final document. The proposal aims to lay down your goals and explain why you want or need to do the research.
5. Copyright Infringement
Both papers frown at copyright infringement. Therefore, you cannot copy the work of other researchers due to their right reserves. You must be careful with your choice of words when writing them.
Differences between a Dissertation and a Thesis
That many people use the terms interchangeably doesn’t mean there’s no difference between the two terms. Let’s look at some of the differences.
1. Length of document
Both documents have a different length. A dissertation is the longest due to the complexity of the work involved.
2. Research Type
With a dissertation, it’s essential to conduct the original research while with the thesis, you use already existing research work.
3. Academic Contributions
You add a dissertation analysis to the existing literature, while the thesis is the analysis of existing literature.
4. Declaration of Statement
A thesis statement states a belief and explains to readers how you intend to prove the statement with points while a dissertation requires some hypothesis. With a dissertation, you only report your expected result using the information you have to research into the particular subject.
5. Difficulty Level
Writing a dissertation is more difficult for students because of the amount of work needed to complete the process. In contrast, students who love to read widely can quickly complete their thesis using well-researched points.
Without a doubt, writing a dissertation or thesis document is serious work. However, understanding the difference between the two terms and how you should write them makes it quite effortless. You can look into various examples to get the understanding you need in that respect.