Dissertation Vs. Thesis: How to Understand the Difference

Towards the end of a master or doctorate program, students have to write a paper which shows their competence in the discipline. It is a tradition that goes back centuries, but today, there is a lot of confusion and candidates don’t know whether to write a dissertation or thesis. Most of the search results compound the problem thus making dissertation and thesis writing even more complicated than it already is.

In this article, you will learn the thesis vs dissertation 8 basic differences to distinguish the two forms of writing. Keep reading:

Why the Confusion between Thesis and Dissertation?

In the European university system, a dissertation is a simple form of writing which precedes a thesis. It is a piece of writing based on extensive research. In the same system, a thesis is a more detailed form of writing which includes empirical research. The opposite applies to the American system structure. This is the origin of the dissertation vs master's thesis conundrum which you find online.

With this in mind, it is important to appreciate the basic differences between a thesis and a dissertation in the American structure. This information will help in writing a dissertation and theses from start to finish. Take a look:

  1. Mode of research: For a thesis, you use research already done to convince your supervisor of your understanding in a particular discipline. In a dissertation, you have to go into the field and carry your research to prove your thesis statement.
  2. A thesis is a shorter document 30-50 typed pages) taking less time. A dissertation is longer (around 160 pages) and will take months of planning, research and writing to complete.
  3. In a thesis, you can use the available data to support arguments while in a dissertation, the data used to reach conclusions is original and comes from your research. You can check a dissertation and thesis database to see these differences.
  4. A thesis in American colleges is for Master’s Degree while a dissertation is for a doctorate.
  5. In a thesis, you collect data based upon the hypothetical analysis of already available material but in a dissertation, you prove the hypothesis based on original research.
  6. For a thesis, you don’t need data collection tools/techniques such as questionnaires and surveys but for a dissertation, you need these components for your research.
  7. Your thesis focuses on a primary argument you pick in the introduction but your dissertation, the focus is on the background work.
  8. In a thesis, you want to prove your knowledge, but in a dissertation, the goal is to contribute novel knowledge, theories or practices to your discipline.

If you are stuck with your thesis or dissertation, it is advisable to use a dissertation writing service. These experts offer custom writing services and have dissertations and theses database free for you to understand the differences.