Thesis vs Dissertation

Thesis vs Dissertation: Differences And Similarities

July 25 2023

Completing an advanced degree is quite an achievement. But before you do it, you have to cross the challenging task which is a thesis or a dissertation. The question that many students ask is: what's the difference? 

At a brief look, the two may seem different, but when it comes to dissertation vs thesis, there are in fact many ways each varies.

Let’s take a look.

Differences between A Dissertation Vs Thesis

The primary difference between thesis vs dissertation is that the former is a project that marks the end of a graduate program (in other words, a Master’s Degree). The latter is completed during a doctoral degree program.

How do you differentiate between a thesis and a dissertation beyond this? There are a few other differences listed below. Knowing these can help you be a better writer for either.

#1: Purpose

A thesis shows what the student learned throughout the program. Given that it is done towards the very end of a graduate program, it perfectly encapsulates whether or not a student has grasped all the concepts from the academic sessions. 

A dissertation is an ongoing process, where a student gets to learn something new. As the focus of a dissertation is finding something new, it becomes a part of learning during the doctorate program, not just an examination of the student’s knowledge.

#2: Intention

When it comes to thesis vs dissertation, intention is everything. Think of a thesis as a research report. It starts off with a research proposal. 

Once approved, the student moves forward with the main research. They accumulate data, conduct analyses, and make comments on their findings. Finally, they derive a conclusion based on the facts and examinations.

In a dissertation, the research by other people is used only as guidance. Understanding a topic is necessary, as a student has to have their own hypothesis. Unlike a thesis, there is a note of creating something original in a dissertation.

#3: Length

The distinction between a thesis and dissertation also involves length. While a thesis is supposed to be 100 pages or more, coming to a stop at one hundred is perfectly fine. 

The more research aids the student’s analysis and conclusion, the better. However, the report can be short based on the fact that a topic may belong to a more specific niche.

On the other hand, a dissertation is much longer, since the research has to be much more detailed. The purpose is to come up with one's own discoveries, not just theories, so the data has to be comprehensive. This may seem daunting, to write 200 - 300 pages, but you can get help from dissertation writing services.

#4: Research

In thesis vs dissertation, the research method differs. For a thesis, you conduct original research, not add to someone else's. You research a topic and expand upon it. It is usually something you want to pursue professionally. 

Exiting research can be used in a dissertation. The point of a dissertation is to come up with a unique concept of your own, you can use other people's research as a baseline. This includes using existing literature analysis as well.

#5: Thinking

A thesis shows the student's ability to think critically. Your understanding of the topic is the judge's conclusion at the end of the report, hence the reason students opt for thesis writing services

The better you are able to have a take on the chosen topic from every angle—thus reaching a deeper conclusion—the better your report’s impression on the reader.

While a dissertation calls for critical thinking too, it revolves more around testing originality. You can analyze others' work and derive conclusions—but what about your own ideas and concepts? 

That's the point of a dissertation, to come up with and explain a hypothesis, and have the chance to contribute something new to your field.

#6: Difficulty

The final significant difference between a university thesis and a university dissertation is that a thesis is challenging. It is doable with little to no help if you pursue a topic you are passionate about and conduct extensive research.

However, a dissertation can be quite daunting, even for the brightest minds. The length is twice, even thrice compared to a thesis, and the work involved is complicated. 

You will need constant help from your dissertation advisors, as you may face roadblocks more than once on your way to successfully completing your report.

Similarities Between A Dissertation Vs Thesis

Both thesis and dissertation are parts of an academic program, which means that you will find several similarities between the two. It’s also the reason why students often confuse the two when considering dissertation vs thesis, and follow the wrong pattern. However, the difference mentioned before can be useful.

You can also get professional help from academic writing services, but we'll look into that later. Look over the ways in which a thesis and dissertation share similarities.

#1: Structure

The structure of a thesis and that of a dissertation is the main similarity. Each type of academic writing consists of a title and subheadings, an abstract and introduction, a literature review, research methodology, results, analysis, comments/discussion, a conclusion, a bibliography, and finally an appendix. 

There may be a section or two in between according to the university's own rules or based on the chosen topic, but the primary structure remains the same both thesis and dissertation.

#2: Purpose

Where there is a difference in the purpose of a thesis and a dissertation, so is there a similarity: each is done for research. While one has to show a student's learning and another is the bases of contributing something new, each is meant to educate via research. 

#3: Proposal

One more main similarity thesis and dissertation share is a proposal. This is essentially a report you submit to the concerned authority in your university. 

The report details your chosen topic for thesis/dissertation, the purpose behind it, the scope of research, and its advantages to you and to others. In a nutshell, a proposal is you asking permission by highlighting why this particular study is important.

#4: Guidance

Writing a dissertation or a thesis is challenging. However, the latter is particularly challenging as it is not only lengthy but also requires immense conceptual and critical thinking. Hence, you need guidance for both. 

Universities have advisors assigned to guide students in their thesis and dissertation. You can turn to them for any guidance, and they can steer you in the right direction or help you eliminate a hindrance keeping you from progressing.

#5: Completion

Another similarity between them is that each is necessary to complete a degree. You can't finish your graduate program without a thesis, and your doctorate is incomplete without a dissertation. Also, each has a certain deadline, a certain period of time allotted to it, adhering to which is necessary.

The Verdict: Thesis Vs. Dissertation

In conclusion, both thesis and dissertation are similar in structure, and each serves to fulfill a significant part of an academic program. You also need to submit a proposal for each and you can get guidance for both. 

In dissertation vs thesis, the differences between thesis and dissertation revolve around the purpose, the way they contribute to your academic life, and of course, the difficulty. 

Do You Need Help With These?

If you’re still feeling stuck while working on your thesis or dissertation, you can get help online. Whether you have trouble understanding the proper structure, need a boost in writing a dissertation abstract, or have to accumulate the research data in an organized way, Studious can help.

We’re a team of professionals, guiding students from different areas of study every single day. We can help you approach your thesis or dissertation without roadblocks and complete it perfectly.

What are you waiting for? Reach out to Studious today!

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