Dissertation vs Thesis: Major Difference You Should Know

You may have been using the words dissertation and thesis interchangeably. But did you know that these two papers are in fact not identical? Many students do not realize this and take one for the other. Even though these types of papers have some similarities, they are also vastly different. Of course, where you live also makes a difference in how you understand these two research papers. Some services providing master thesis help give different help compared to a dissertation writing service because these are two different papers, but they are like two sides of the same coin.  

Read on to see what the differences are so you can be better equipped to write both! 

As a bonus, you will also improve your knowledge of academic writing.   

What is a thesis? 

A thesis is essentially a long essay in which you explore a research question. You need to provide your reasoning for taking a stance on that question and provide sound evidence for your reasoning. A lot of times, you will be using other people’s evidence in a thesis. Meaning, you do not have to go out and collect your own data to prove your point. So, a thesis is a sort of a long literature review, the difference being that you have a research question that you need to answer instead of simply reviewing the literature. 

Example of a thesis topic 

For example, you could write a thesis about the importance of gun control in society. For this, you will need to read up on previous research to give support for your arguments on the issue. You will need to provide a thesis statement and give conclusions of your research analysis (Harvard University, n.d.). 

What is a dissertation? 

A dissertation is a much longer piece of work that involves original ideas. When writing a dissertation, you do not simply evaluate other people’s work, but you carry out research to answer questions to increase understanding of a concept (The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, n.d.). For example, you could extend a theory or add new evidence to an area of literature. A dissertation is usually done during a Ph.D., but in some countries, it can also be a part of a master’s degree. 

Example of a dissertation topic 

Taking the example from above, if you are writing a dissertation on gun control, you could seek out data about the effects of gun control on society. This way, you are adding new information to the literature and increasing understanding of gun control in society. 

Similarities between a thesis and a dissertation 

A thesis and a dissertation are similar in a lot of ways and are even used interchangeably in some universities. 

  • They are both academic research papers.
  • They require scientific investigations. 
  • They are written in a formal tone. 
  • They are longer than regular essays. 
  • They involve answering a research question. 
  • They involve analysis and discussions to answer the research question.  
  • Plagiarism is strictly prohibited in both papers. 
  • They require critical thinking skills. 

Major differences between a thesis and a dissertation 

Despite all these similarities, there are major differences between the two papers. You need to know these to really ace your academic performance.  

  1. The length of the two papers is different 

The most major difference is the length of the papers. Although both thesis papers and dissertations are longer than regular academic essays, they are not the same length. A thesis is generally about a hundred pages long. Traditionally, a dissertation is much longer than that. It can be up to 4 times as long as a thesis paper. So, the difference in length is significant. If you have worked on a thesis before and are now doing a dissertation, you need to keep this in mind. Dissertations require you to be very detailed! 

  1. The purpose of the two papers is different 

You are generally required to complete a thesis paper in the final section of your master’s degree. The purpose of a thesis is to test your knowledge about your field and see what academic skills you have learned. You need to develop a well-informed thesis statement and then provide evidence from the literature to support it. 

On the other hand, a dissertation is used to test your academic as well as research skills. You are required to develop new knowledge in your chosen field. A dissertation focuses on originally and is a requirement of doing a Ph.D. in any subject.  

  1. Oral presentations are different 

Both thesis papers and dissertations require oral presentations. But since a dissertation is longer, the presentation also goes on for hours. For a thesis, this oral presentation is shorter, typically lasting for an hour. So, if you are doing a dissertation, you must be prepared to give a really long presentation! 

  1. Content is different 

The difference in purpose also means there is a difference in content between the two. As already mentioned above, thesis papers are like literature reviews. But dissertations require original research.  

It all depends on where you are studying!  

Different regions have different understandings of these words. In the US, thesis papers are generally a part of master’s degrees and dissertations are written in PhDs. If you are studying in Europe, then you might be asked to do a dissertation in your master’s degree, and sometimes the research papers written for PhDs are called theses. This all sounds pretty confusing, but you must remember that these regional differences should be kept in mind! 

In many European universities, these words may also be used interchangeably. But don’t get confused, and always check your university guidelines about the requirements of your degree! 

Some final words 

By now you must have a basic understanding of the major difference between a thesis and a Dissertation Writing Service. It can be quite confusing but knowing these differences will help you approach the papers in the right way. You now also know the major types of research papers. No matter what you are required to do, understanding the purpose of the paper is vital to get good grades! 

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