The dissertation vs thesis debate is one that has waged on for as long as theses and dissertations have existed. Dissertations and theses are both academic papers that must be submitted in the course of completing a Masters or Ph.D. program. In most schools, you are required to write a thesis during your first year of study, and a dissertation during your final year. The main difference between a thesis and dissertation is that a thesis is a short, written paper, while a dissertation is much longer, and serves as the final, culminating component of your college education. The word “dissertation” comes from the Latin word dissertare, which means “to discuss.” It is a term that has been used for
The two most common types of academic writing are the dissertation and the thesis. While both are expected to follow a certain format, the dissertation focuses on the collection of research, while the thesis focuses on the presentation of knowledge. The main difference is that the dissertation is a piece of original research that explores a specific topic in detail. A thesis, on the other hand, is a formal document that presents a student’s research or ideas.
Whether you are a graduate student just beginning your academic career or a professor advising a student, the distinction between a thesis and a dissertation is essential to writing a solid thesis and becoming a better writer. Unfortunately, the difference remains vague because these terms are used interchangeably by graduate students, doctoral students, academic publishers, and universities.
If you are not sure whether you should write a thesis or a dissertation, this article will help you understand the difference between the two, whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student.
Dissertation versus thesis: Main differences
Although dissertations and theses have much in common (they are both research papers), they are actually two different types of academic writing, and their differences relate to important concepts such as scope, purpose, coverage, and research requirements.
The difference between a thesis and an essay depends mainly on the level of education. A dissertation is certainly not a simple essay, it is intended for doctoral students, and a dissertation is written by doctoral students, who are also called doctoral students.
There are some important differences between a thesis and a dissertation.
A dissertation often takes the form of a literature review, which is a compilation of scientific findings in a particular field and demonstrates a person’s expertise in that area. The dissertation, on the other hand, is a more specific type of research paper written by those preparing for a doctorate that contributes knowledge, theory or methods to an area of research.
What is best for you?
The benefits of a college degree are enormous. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people with college degrees earn 3.7 times as much as those with high school diplomas, and 13.1 percent have master’s degrees, specialization degrees or doctorates. If you are a curious student considering graduate school, what is the right choice?
The right choice depends on your program of study and your career goals.
In short, the thesis is more focused and in-depth than the dissertation. While an essay is based on original research, a thesis is often a continuation or revision of someone else’s research to demonstrate literacy. Similarly, the thesis can be used as the basis or subject of an essay, but not vice versa.
What is a thesis?
A master’s thesis is an academic research paper that requires a higher level of research than a bachelor’s thesis or dissertation. Writing skills are of a higher standard and students must demonstrate proficiency, language skills and mastery of the subject matter. This usually takes two to three years. Finally, a master’s thesis is usually written for a research degree and is not intended for independent publication.
What is a thesis?
The dissertation is an essential part of the independent research required of all doctoral students. This is an original work that has never been published before and, more importantly, makes a novel contribution to the field. This post could be a new way to think about an existing topic or even a new theory. Dissertation research usually takes place over a period of several years to half a decade.
Characteristics of the master’s thesis
- original and innovative testing of ideas and hypotheses
- Self-employment or experience
- Demonstrated skills and knowledge of industry practices and their limitations.
- In-depth knowledge of the literature
- Ability to summarize and critique the literature on the research topic.
- Ability to present a paper in an academic setting (conference, seminar, course, defense, etc.).
Characteristics of the essay
- All these answers.
- A new and unpublished contribution to the scientific literature
- Original research, conducted directly by the author (PhD student).
- A clear research question/hypothesis that can be unambiguously answered (or falsified).
- Advances in methods, observations, interpretations, etc.
What is the difference between writing a thesis and a dissertation?
Now that you know the definitions of thesis and essay, let’s look at some obvious differences:
Learn about the process of proofreading and editing assignments.
Length is the most obvious factor to distinguish a thesis or a dissertation.
A dissertation usually has more breadth, depth and intent than a master’s thesis because it is based on original research. While the standard length of a master’s thesis is about 100 pages, a doctoral thesis can be as long as 400-500 pages.
While most students can complete their doctorate or dissertation in as little as 1-2 years, it can take up to 7 years depending on the institution, program, and dissertation topic. D. programs have their own formatting requirements, so check with your school or university to see what is required for your dissertation. Most essays are divided into chapters, but the number of chapters also varies.
The thesis and dissertation are graduate research papers. This means that they ask students to research and report on a specific topic. But what is the difference in the field of research between a master’s and a doctorate?
The answer depends on how much and what kind of data you collect.
The master thesis is limited to secondary or reported knowledge . This knowledge has already been published, analyzed and questioned in the literature. The essay usually adds nothing new in this regard. In general, the idea is to use existing data to write a comprehensive literature review on a new or understudied topic.
Data sources for this work
- Articles in scientific journals
- Books and scientific publications
- Academic journals and magazines
- Research reports
- Industry and business reports
- Government data (census, ecology, etc.)
- Published statistical data
- Previous studies
The essay, on the other hand, reports new data and is published for others to read. It ends with the defense of the thesis.
Data sources for this work
- All these answers.
- Laboratory experiments and research (e.g. basic research)
- First-hand surveys, interviews and focus groups (e.g. psychology, social sciences)
- Unpublished data (i.e. validated experimental data too rare to be published).
- Abstracts, reviews and presentations by other researchers at conferences
It is clear from the above enumerations that the researcher and the writer of the essay must be familiar not only with the research results of others, but also with the way in which the researchers obtained the data. The graduate student must dare to criticize the way other studies conducted their experiments, while the graduate student only reports and evaluates the results.
As mentioned above, a dissertation is more of a literature review, written to demonstrate proficiency and mastery of the field. In short, you are a reliable reporter of information on this subject. The thesis shows that you know the jargon, understand the subject, are familiar with the tools of the trade, and can translate this information for a general audience. Therefore, a master’s degree is sufficient and it is often preferred to work in this sector.
A dissertation, on the other hand, goes beyond just using the building blocks of your topic and actually creates new tools, knowledge, and theories to advance the topic as a whole. If a master’s graduate is like a seasoned Rolling Stone journalist, then a doctor is a band/musician who actually makes music.
Editing and proofreading of a thesis or dissertation
So far we have spent a lot of time on distinctions like research and purpose, but ultimately a thesis or dissertation is a written document that requires skill, focus, discipline, expertise, organization, and planning.
For non-native speakers, this task is particularly difficult, as English is a lingua franca in academic and scientific circles.
How editing services can improve your dissertation
There are many guidelines for writing an essay, from line and page spacing to font size and citation style. Worse, they vary from school to school. PhD students should therefore not only pay attention to correct English spelling and grammar, but also to consistency, formatting, nomenclature and terminology. That’s a pretty heavy load!
Therefore, PhD students, especially international students and ESL students, very often look for dissertation editing services specifically designed to meet the needs of researchers and students.
Here are some reasons why essay proofreading is so useful and what these proofreaders do:
- Correct grammatical, punctuation, syntactic and structural errors.
- Provide suggestions for rewording, deleting and revising written work.
- Make sure the formatting and nomenclature match
- Skilled research writers with a master’s degree or doctorate.
- Save time to focus on research, editing and content instead of looking for errors.
- Have a proofreading or editing certificate, which may be required for non-English speaking students.
Finally, most dissertation supervisors recommend using a professional dissertation editor, as professors prefer to judge the actual content of the dissertation rather than trivial writing errors. Any graduate student reading this knows that professors don’t like to waste their time!
Also discover other resources to improve your academic manuscript and the benefits of proofreading and editing.
And try Wordvice’s FREE citation generator, which lets you create APA, MLA, Chicago, and Vancouver style citations.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do all PHDS require a thesis?
In most academic fields, a doctorate is the highest level of education you can achieve. However, there are several that offer higher degrees—for example, a PHD, or a doctorate of philosophy. There are a few differences between the two degrees, so let’s take a look at the differences between a PHD and a normal PhD. One of the most obvious differences is that a PHD requires the candidate to demonstrate a higher level of knowledge by writing and defending a thesis. Unfortunately, you can’t just earn a PhD and automatically start raking in the big bucks.
Most PHDS require you to complete a thesis, which is a large project you complete over the course of several months. While the effort is worth it, it can be a daunting prospect. If you are worried about the amount of time and effort it takes to complete a thesis, relax: there are plenty of ways to make writing your PHDS thesis simpler.
Is a dissertation required for a master’s degree?
Although your master’s degree is an academic degree, a dissertation is not always required. Some universities offer a Master of Arts or a Master of Science degree without a dissertation, and some offer the option of writing a paper in lieu of a dissertation. The short answer is yes, a dissertation is required for a master’s degree. The long answer is no, not necessarily. If you are in a master’s program, you may very well be required to write a dissertation. If you are in a PhD program, you probably will have to write a dissertation (the exception being if you are in a science or professional program).
Does a dissertation have to be original?
Dissertations examine a specific topic and expound on it in great detail, and a dissertation must be original for it to be accepted as part of your degree program. For example, if you are studying philosophy and want to write about a famous philosopher, then you need to write a dissertation on that philosopher. A thesis, on the other hand, is broader and does not necessarily need to be original. A thesis can be based on another person’s dissertation, but a dissertation is not a thesis and they are two separate things.
For a lot of students, writing a dissertation is one of the most challenging tasks in their academic career. And it’s not just the long hours of research, writing, and proofreading that make it so hard. It’s the stress and anxiety that come with worrying about whether your work will live up to your professor’s expectations—and, most importantly, whether it will be original. This question of originality is a common cause of stress for many students, and it’s not surprising, when you consider that most of us were taught that it’s “wrong” to “copy” others’ work. Our professors don’t want us to get into trouble, and neither do we. But the truth is a dissertation doesn’t have to be original.