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Dissertation vs thesis 8 basis differences

Almost every student starts paying attention towards the difference between dissertation and thesis when they are about to complete their graduation or going to enroll themselves for a master degree. As they are supposed to write thesis or dissertation in their masters’, once they complete their graduation. I am sure many of you have gone through the several pages of a search engine in order to have a crystal clear idea about the difference between thesis and dissertation. But all of them are just circumlocating the things and making it more complex to understand.

When I was in the last semester of masters, I was also dealing with the same situation. Likewise all other people I have also surfed through the different articles and blogs to know the basic difference between the two but in vain. The purpose of writing this blog is to help all those students who are experiencing a problem to differentiate between thesis and dissertation. But before moving on to know the difference we should have an idea about why people often misinterpret the two words as the synonym and what are the similar features of dissertation and thesis.

Similarities between Dissertation and Thesis

Both of them are used as the synonym by many people because thesis, as well as the dissertation, is a research work. In both cases researcher is expected to do his or her research based on authentic sources, more reference to your sources are to be submitted at the end of the thesis as well as the dissertation. Your content and idea should be unique and it must not be published earlier for both thesis and dissertation. These are the basic similarities between dissertation and thesis. But when you are going to write your dissertation or thesis apart from similarities, you should be familiar with the difference between two as well.

Difference between Dissertation and Thesis

The reason why different people are giving an odd statement about the same thing and leaving you confused behind is the kind of country they are following. In India, we follow European structure where a dissertation is a small piece of work based on extensive research, On the other hand, the thesis could be much longer and are written by those who are the professional researcher. Americans are quite different from European in this context because they consider thesis as a small research work by a student based on prior research and data on that particular topic. While dissertation is a research book written by a person for his doctorate degree with a massive research in the American context. That is why people are coming up with different definitions of thesis and dissertations at different times.

The difference between the two words is best defined with the example of words “same” and “similar”. Just like “same” and “similar” are used as synonym by many people but they are not in real case. “same ” could be defined as two things having all matching features, while “similar” is something that has almost all features like that of the other, remember there is a difference between all and almost. The case of dissertation and thesis is also same where many people use them as the synonym, but if we observe meticulously there is a massive difference between the two. Let us dive a little deeper to know the difference. Following table contains all major difference between dissertation and thesis which will help with dissertation writing for you.

Dissertation Thesis
Small in size, mainly 30-50 typed pages Large in size can go beyond 200 pages
Submitted for masters’or M.phill. degree It is submitted for doctorate degree
Researcher can use the pre-existing data in order to support his arguments For the thesis, your data should be original and your own.
The purpose is to develop basic research calibre in a person. It is a contribution to society, as research is used to implement and improve different policies.
No outdoor visit to collect data The outdoor visit is must in order to know the ground reality.
Questionnaire and survey are not required Questionnaire and surveys are musts
No detailed information Contains all information about the topic in depth.
In Europe dissertation is for masters degree and thesis for doctorate In America thesis for masters and dissertation for doctorate

These are the major basic difference between thesis and dissertation, let us discuss them a bit more in detail.

1. Length

the main thing that brings the major difference between dissertation and thesis is the length of the content itself. The purpose of writing a dissertation is just to develop a research calibre in the person. But while you are writing a thesis for doctorate degree you cannot write it for 7000-10000 words. A standard doctorate thesis is expected to be written in somewhat 200-250 pages. So the length of your work defines it better, whether it is a thesis or dissertation.

2. Purpose of Submission

the next difference in the line is the purpose for which a dissertation and thesis is written. As mentioned many times above thesis is submitted by a person for his or her doctorate degree, on the other hand, a dissertation is for masters or M.phill. Degree.

3. Use of Existing Data

in a Dissertation Proposal Writing, you can use the pre-existing data based on the research of the previous researcher. By using that quantitative data you can build on your own arguments and support them through previous research. In other words, you can say that it is just an analysis of pre-existing data and building on an argument based upon it. This is not the case with the person who is writing the thesis, he cannot rely on the existing data.

4. Reason of Researcher

the dissertation is subjected to the master’s student so that they can develop a research approach in an early stage, it will prepare them to do research in future coming years for their doctorate degree. While in the case of the thesis, their purpose is entirely different, a thesis is meant to bring a research which could benefit the society by finding the best way to improve the present structure of our social system.

5. Outdoor Visit

A person is not required to go for outdoor research in order to collect new data about a particular subject, while he or she is writing a dissertation. He can use the pre-existing quantitative research to develop new ideas and arguments and support them. But the outdoor visit is must in case of those who are writing the thesis. They are expected to go to the ground realities and gather authentic data and information regarding his thesis so that basic truth could be determined.

6. Questionnaire and Survey

Asking people to fill the questionnaire and conducting the different survey is not required in order to write a dissertation. But no thesis is complete without organizing surveys and questionnaire, they form a crucial part of the research. If you are writing the thesis without using them, they would be rejected by your mentor as they are very useful to know the actual truth when filled honestly by people. Even people are provided money to fill questionable honestly.

7. In Depth Information

owing to its small size, you cannot expect that a dissertation contains all the information with a critical analysis. While in the event of the thesis where the person is giving his crucial time to write, it has an in-depth analysis of all necessary information about the topic. It does not mean that dissertation do not make much sense and difficult to understand due to lack of all information, but yeah as compared to thesis it is short and suffice.

8. European and American Context

this is the major difference which is going to give you the answer to your question that why some people says that dissertation is for masters and thesis for doctorate while other are almost opposite to it. In the European context, a dissertation is a small piece of research work submitted by students based upon the research of existing data and thesis is written by a professional researcher by collecting his own unique data through field visit. Americans do not follow this concept and for the dissertation is for doctorate and thesis for masters. Thus it depends on the person which one they are following. In India, we generally follow European structure to define the two.

These are the shared difference between thesis and dissertation that every student should have an idea about before writing his dissertation or thesis. Do not commit the blunder of using the two words as the synonym like other.

November 14, 2017