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Thesis vs Dissertation vs Research Paper

Thesis vs Dissertation vs Research Paper
cal LiveWebTutors cal 28 Oct, 2020

Master your academic writing by understanding the key differences between research papers, thesis, and dissertations

Academic assignments and papers are an unavoidable part of a student’s educational journey. It is important for the students to master the right skills to attain the highest possible grades in these papers and be success full in their academic careers.

Be it weekly papers, a term paper, a research paper, a review article, or any other assignment the best students are those who have nailed the art of every literary arrangement. 

It is important for students to understand how each academic assignment differs from the other so that they can easily write impactful content that helps them to stay ahead of their peers in today's competitive times. Most of the academic institutions require the students to undertake writing tasks to assess their grasp over certain concepts or topics. 

Students often misunderstand one assignment format as another, i.e. research papers as thesis, thesis as dissertations, or dissertations as research papers. This leads them to face an unfortunate scenario of developing one when they were asked to craft the other. This is when they have to face a low blow in their valuable grades.

To help you identify the clear differences between these popular formats, we have prepared a guide that will help you to master the assignment allotted to you without any writing confusion. Continue to read ahead for learning key differences between research paper, thesis, and dissertations. 

Research paper v/s Thesis v/s Dissertations 

The variations between these distinct academic assignment formats can be observed in the form of definitions, writing styles, arguments presentation, the purpose of writing, and the academic level. 

A major difference is used in how the names of these assignment formats are used in different nations interchangeably. For instance, in some countries thesis might be a part of your bachelor’s academic curriculum, a dissertation is only related to the doctorate degree, while in some countries this works vice versa. 

Let’s understand this with an example, the doctorate students in India are expected to prepare a thesis while in the USA they are expected to prepare a dissertation. Similarly, the M.Phil students in India write a dissertation for the successful completion of their program while in the USA the M.Phil scholars are required to write a thesis. 

Without any further delay let’s dig into the differences of these assignment formats with some logical aspects in the picture.

The basis of differentiation Definition 

The difference on the basis of the definition between these academic papers will turn out to be beneficial for the new enrolments in the colleges. 

This difference will help you to realize that all three academic assignments are generally prepared for earning a degree or reaching the next level of the academic career. 


The difference on the basis of how students draft a research paper thesis or dissertation is also a major factor of distinction between the three paper formats.  


This difference focuses on the multiple sections covered in these academic assignments, such as introduction, abstract, literature review, research methodology, findings, discussion, conclusions, and recommendations.

Academic Level The utilization or publication mode

This difference focuses on the basis on which these academic assignments get published and how they are useful for the people. 

Hypothesis and knowledge inference

Hypothesis refers to an educated assumption that is usually made before conducting a study.

It is formed on the basis of how a particular outcome will impact the population of the study.

Research Paper

  • A research paper refers to a literary arrangement that is often used as a class requirement. A student is expected to develop a well-written research paper only after gathering intensive knowledge on a specific concept or topic. Once the data is collected, students organize the findings in a descriptive format.
  • A research paper is written with an objective to open new doors for future studies and grabbing advanced academic writing opportunities that require the students to successfully implement the conclusion derived.
    While writing a research paper a student is expected to connect the existing piece of literature to his own findings. 
  • For instance, you can use the findings of different research papers on gender inequality to prove your claim on the same. 
  • Although all three academic assignments include most of these sections, the major difference is observed in the length of the papers.
  • The length of a research paper is usually longer than a thesis. It requires a student to conduct a comprehensive study of the collected data to arrive at a suitable conclusion.
  • The length of a research paper is usually longer than a thesis. It requires a student to conduct a comprehensive study of the collected data to arrive at a suitable conclusion.
  • The length of a research paper is usually longer than a thesis. It requires a student to conduct a comprehensive study of the collected data to arrive at a suitable conclusion.
  • The length of a research paper is usually longer than a thesis. It requires a student to conduct a comprehensive study of the collected data to arrive at a suitable conclusion.
  • A research paper is usually allotted to students at any academic level, most commonly at the bachelor's level.
  • The completion of a research paper usually leads a student to succeed in his undergraduate degree.
  • A research paper is usually used as an article that sheds light on a specific concept or topic but not in as much detail as a dissertation.
  • While writing a research paper a student is expected to have a thorough understanding of the topic covered so that he can easily infer or derive a meaningful conclusion from his research.


  • A thesis is usually an academic paper that is allotted to the students as a part of their college or university degree. It usually involves a statement that is presented in a logical manner as a premise to be approved by the students.
  • A student is expected to use his own ideas and extensive research to successfully complete his thesis on a selected topic or concept.
  • While writing a thesis, a student has to draw conclusions only on the basis of is his own findings. There is no relation to the previous literature to prove his claim in this format.
  • A thesis tends to be shorter in length hence leading a student to spend fewer hours on writing the text for this paper.
  •  A thesis is generally allotted to the students pursuing their education to earn a doctorate degree. 
  • The last two years of their academic journey are dedicated to the completion of their thesis paper.
  • Just like a research paper, a thesis is also utilized as an article to focus on a specific concept on topic.
  • While writing a thesis the hypothesis is developed only after conducting the research on the assignment topic or subject.


  • A dissertation is an academic paper that students usually prepare as the major requirement for their diploma degree program. a large majority of nations require the students to prepare a dissertation as a crucial part of their doctorate programs.
  • Similar to the research papers, a dissertation is also written in a manner to connect the existing literature to the present findings. 
  • A student uses existing work to ascertain that the problem exists in a specific area. 
  • The length of a dissertation is almost equivalent to that of a research paper. It also requires a student to conduct an elaborate study of the collected data hence demanding a large majority of his time and efforts. 
  • A dissertation is usually allotted to students pursuing their education to earn a Masters’, MPhil, or MBA degree.
  • In several nations, a dissertation is also a means of enrolling in a postgraduate program. 
  • The dissertation papers are usually used as a book as they are commonly published in multiple volumes. 
  • A well-written dissertation can definitely be used as an academic book in an institution.
  • Your dissertation can make you a published author as it is a comprehensive piece of work.
  • Just like a research paper, a dissertation also requires a student to have a thorough knowledge of a specific concept based on his studies.

The concluding words

Multiple factors have been taken into consideration for establishing a clear differentiation between these crucial academic papers. However, irrespective of the methodology used or the objective behind developing these assignments, the most significant aspect is how students use their writing skills in these papers.

These academic papers are allotted to a student to evaluate his knowledge on different issues and topics. They are used to analyze how past events led to the present-day scenarios or how a present situation will lead to a future consequences. The spread of knowledge on untouched topics helps society to learn and grow positively.

The research work required to draft each of these academic assignments is meant to polish a student's critical understanding of a subject and helps him to develop practical solutions for an existing problem. A student who is approaching even one of these assignment formats has to clearly demonstrate his understanding of today’s scenario and problems that trouble our society. It is only through this demonstration that the recommendations given in the paper will become trustworthy, acceptable, implementable, and dependable. A student is expected to have determined academic skills before he can write this assignment help perfectly.

Writing experts from the LiveWebTutors platform available at your beck and call

If even after reading this article you are unable to produce a strong research paper or thesis or dissertation for your academic program you can reach out to the diligent and dexterous experts of the LiveWebTutors platform at any time of the day. The portal has an experienced panel of subject-specific experts who have successfully catered to the requests of different assignment formats effortlessly. Their services are available at extremely affordable rates so that the students can do not hesitate while seeking assistance with their valuable academic assignments.

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