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Thesis Vs. Dissertation – A Detailed Comparison - Law Essay Teacher Blog


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Thesis Vs. Dissertation – A Detailed Comparison

As a graduate student, you might have worked on a wide range of challenging coursework and assignments. However, the thesis or dissertation is the most important project you’ll work on while earning your master’s or doctorate. Unfortunately, however, many students don’t understand the difference between the two and thus mix the two.

Now you’re probably wondering what the distinction is, and it’s great that you’re thinking ahead! First, of course, there are differences between the two terms, even though students usually confuse a master’s dissertation or thesis with a PhD dissertation.

However, before we go into the differences, we’ll discuss some significant aspects of both write-ups. So, first, let’s see what exactly a thesis or dissertation is.

Thesis Meaning – The Core Concept

A thesis is a significant academic research write-up, considered a necessary part of a master’s degree program. A student needs to conduct extensive research to complete a thesis paper. This writing piece often declares what you believe or intend to prove.

A good thesis can assist you in narrowing your search for information. But don’t be too hasty! You need to do a lot of background reading before identifying key questions about a subject or a topic.

You may not know where you stand on a matter until you have thoroughly investigated the problem. Thus, you will probably start research with a working, preliminary, or tentative thesis. Then, however, you keep refining it to the point where the final draft covers many diverse details.

Thus, students can showcase their expertise and knowledge within the subject matter they’ve been studying while writing a thesis.

Dissertation Meaning – From the Eyes of An Expert

When you enrol in a doctoral program to earn a PhD degree, you learn how to conduct research. However, research is not enough here as you are required to write a detailed and relevant dissertation at the end of your doctorate.

A dissertation is an extensive document. It involves original or expanded research on a new or existing topic. As a PhD student, you have the freedom to explore and write about anything you want within your area of study. Also, a student can earn only their PhD degree after submitting and defending the dissertation,

How to Write a Thesis Vs. How to Write a Dissertation

If you want to ensure you fulfil the criteria when writing either a thesis or a dissertation, you must know about the similarities and differences between the two. We have discussed both in detail in this comparison between a master’s thesis and a PhD dissertation.

Thesis vs dissertation –the Similarities

Theses and dissertations are academic documents focused on a particular study area. In both documents, a researcher:

  • Explores a topic in depth
  • It brings together all the significant concepts
  • Study practical applications and theories

Such investigations students usually do during grad school years, whether in a master’s thesis time or a doctoral (PhD) program.

Here are some major similarities between a thesis and a dissertation:

·  Length and Level

The thesis and dissertation both are written for graduate programs, not for undergraduate students. Furthermore, depending on the type of study and whether they are more theoretical or practical, both are lengthy papers, usually exceeding dozens of pages.

·  Supervision

Both projects necessitate some form of supervision to be completed. That is why the university assigns supervisors or advisers to help students along the way. Supervisors advise them on document structure and provide feedback on the student’s research plans, data collection, writing, and more. Then, those supervisors are acknowledged as major contributors and the student in the final project.

·  Passing Requirement

Moreover, students get a pass or fail grades in their thesis or dissertation; in any case, if a student doesn’t get good grades, the university asks students to rewrite or redo their dissertation or thesis. However, the number of attempts is limited.

·  Structure

Dissertation and thesis structures are quite similar. These are:

  • Introduction
  • Abstract
  • Literature Review
  • Main body
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix

Even though these elements have the same names, the content of the thesis and dissertation structure is often different.

Differences – When You Write a Dissertation and Thesis

Despite being used synonymously, a thesis vs dissertation differ significantly in many ways, which cause students to struggle in understanding them.

Moreover, it sometimes gets tough for students, especially law graduates, to work efficiently. Therefore, they often look for a law assignment writing service to submit well-written content. Thus, we will go over the four main differences in detail below to help you comprehend some significant parts of the two.

1. Data Collection

The distinction between thesis and dissertation is the way students collect data. The dissertation is the primary research for which students receive a PhD. Therefore, it employs qualitative information such as:

  • Surveys or questionnaires
  • Group Discussions (Focus Groups)
  • Interviews
  • Any other type of data gathered by the student

The thesis, however, doesn’t necessarily depend on the collection of primary data. It relies more on secondary research, such as:

  • Articles
  • Books
  • Existing studies
  • Government and official statistics
  • Survey Reports and more.

The dissertation consists of primary data, but it also draws on secondary sources to support arguments and provide evidence for or against a particular hypothesis. On the other hand, a thesis doesn’t have to include primary data, depending on the student’s preference.

2. Degree Type

Another distinction between a thesis or dissertation is they serve different purposes. For example, students write dissertations to obtain the final degree or the highest qualification available in various disciplines, such as a doctorate. On the contrary, they write a thesis to mark the end of a master’s degree. In most cases, a master’s student plans to get a second degree (a PhD) to complete their education circle.

Some universities don’t require a thesis or dissertation. However, it is usually determined by the type of program or institution. This is more common with a master’s degree program than with a PhD program. In addition, some master’s program enables students to choose between writing their thesis and taking an additional course.

Thus, if a student aims to continue their education, it is suggested they must complete the thesis rather than courses. In addition, completing a thesis can increase your research experience. As a result, you can have a basic understanding of the research for your PhD dissertation.

3. Length of the Project

Another difference between both types of documents is their length. Because the dissertation is based on actual research, it can be as long as 400 pages, making it essentially a book on your chosen topic.

On the contrary, the thesis relies on secondary research and doesn’t delve as deeply into the topic as the dissertation, so its length must be at least 100 pages. However, it doesn’t have to be a complete book about a topic.

Also, topic selection is crucial in dissertation. For example, for a PhD in law, you must choose the best law dissertation topics to meet the required length of your thesis or dissertation.

4. Purpose of Study

Every research project has a distinct goal!

A thesis is primarily composed of secondary research. It is used to demonstrate you have acquired adequate knowledge and experience in your area of interest to your peers and professors. It begins with a proposal, which students then analyse and make a case according to their viewpoints.

The dissertation serves an entirely different purpose than the thesis. The dissertation is written to contribute to the growth of your field by generating insights through research.

Those who write dissertations attempt to explore new theories and concepts that have not previously been thoroughly researched. Students have to work on the hypothesis in the dissertation, which they prove or disprove using quantitative and qualitative key data.

Thesis Vs. Dissertation – The Defense Part

Students must present their thesis vs dissertations projects once they complete them. Most universities require oral presentations, also known as thesis or dissertation defenses. This entails students presenting and defending their work and arguments in front of a committee of:

  • Professors
  • Advisors
  • Industry professionals
  • Peers

The audience asks questions at the end to see if the student did a good job and determine the project’s validity. Finally, the professors evaluate and grade the research projects.

Whether you work on a thesis or a dissertation is determined by several factors. However, by completing either one, you will accomplish the following:

  • Creating a significant research proposal
  • In-depth investigation of a particular research question of interest
  • Discovering the resources required for your research
  • Examining and analysing relevant literature
  • Selecting and implementing the best research methods for your research question
  • Analysing, interpreting, and reporting the data and findings
  • Identifying key takeaways or implications of your research for a broader audience

Final Thoughts!

Nonetheless, the facts about the dissertation vs thesis are correct. As a result, using one term rather than another is not acceptable in academic circles. Each must be used for its intended purpose. However, neither is diminished by the other.

Writing a thesis or a dissertation demands the same level of seriousness. Both jobs necessitate crucial technical and soft skills. Enhancing your time management and academic writing skills is significant to succeeding in both types of scholarly writing.

But, some students face challenges writing their thesis or dissertations. Therefore, they can go to law dissertation help UK for an impeccable write-up and the best possible grades.


1. Is There Any Difference Between a Thesis and Dissertation?

A thesis is a collection of research. It ensures the researcher is well-informed and knowledgeable about the topic. On the other hand, a dissertation requires the researcher to add new theories and information to the published literature in research.

2. Is Thesis for Masters or PhD?

As stated previously, a thesis is written at the end of a master’s program, while a dissertation is reported to earn a PhD.

3. Is a Dissertation Required for a PhD?

A dissertation is a part of a PhD programme. It is a technical work used to represent and prove one’s theories and argument. Therefore, the dissertation is written for a technical audience. Thus, it must be clear and precise but not painstakingly comprehensive.


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