Do you know how to write a thesis and a research paper? What is the major difference between thesis and research paper? Though both thesis and research papers are academic writings, they differ in many ways.
A scholarly research report written by a scholar to meet academic requirements and acquire a higher degree is a thesis. In contrast, the nature of the research paper is analytical, argumentative, and interpretive. It comprises of evaluation of the information collected to gain more knowledge. It incorporates the author’s idea, frequently backed by expert opinion, research, and data on the paper’s subject.
Both thesis and research papers are challenging tasks and involve extended time to prepare and finish them. In this blog post on the major difference between thesis and research paper, we will provide an overview of both tasks and state the difference between the two writings.
|Grounds for comparison
|Puts forward an original argument or proposition
|Puts forward findings established on present research
|Usually longer (around 80-100 pages)
|Comparatively shorter (around 10-20 pages)
|General readership or specific field
|Introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and bibliography
|Introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references
|Lays stress on original research and contribution
|Concentrates on analysis and amalgamation of existing knowledge
|Generally comprises a hypothesis
|The inclusion of the hypothesis is not certain
|It can be more comprehensive in scope
|It can be narrower in scope
|Incorporates carrying original research, data collection, and analysis
|Incorporates reviewing present literature, data analysis, and interpretation
|It may require a formal defense or oral examination
|Generally does not require a formal defense or oral examination
|Often required for completion of a graduate degree program
|It can be a part of coursework or independent study
The table above gives a general overview of the vital differences between the thesis and research paper; however, a detailed explanation of the major difference between thesis and research paper will be mentioned later.
The thesis is a written paper containing research and findings specific to a topic that students present before their professor and university to get a professional degree. The paper must be based on arguments, offering a debatable point with which individuals could agree or disagree. Otherwise, it is a written research report with a problem that has not been addressed.
In a thesis, the writer proposes their conclusion and the supporting evidence. If a student is pursuing a postgraduate course or a Ph.D. degree, they are under an obligation to submit their thesis. The focal point of this academic writing is to conduct novel research using a research methodology.
Apart from the above main points, the thesis must have the following elements:
As the name suggests, a research paper involves research, critical thinking, source evaluation, composition, and organization. It is crafted based on the writer’s original research on a particular topic, accompanying analysis, and interpretation of the findings.
The writer usually begins writing the paper based on what they know about the topic and tries to discover what other experts know about it. Otherwise stated, a research paper is a document with scientific research results or an analysis of a published scientific paper. Students can investigate, interpret and analyze sources concerning a topic through research. A research paper aims to provide a unique point of view on a topic, examining and assessing what others have already written about it. Primary and secondary sources are crucial elements of a research paper.
To begin writing a research paper, one must always select a topic that is interesting and not too simple. Select a manageable and relevant topic and avoid technical or very specific topics or those with less data and information. Avoid considering controversial topics for your research paper. The topic determines the enthusiasm and the time the researcher would have to invest in the writing process.
Writing a research paper is a challenging task requiring adequate organization and concentration. The primary steps to writing a research paper are selecting a topic, conducting research, outlining, and beginning the actual writing.
Usually, a research paper is written in about 8 to 10 pages, but its length may vary depending on the selected topic and the professor’s requirements. The components of a research paper include:
As stated previously in this blog on the major difference between thesis and research paper is that both thesis and research paper are two separate academic writings that have significant differences. It is time to understand the key dissimilarities between both
Thesis: The thesis reflects student’s understanding of a subject, demonstrating their critical and analytical skills and adding new knowledge to the academic community. It focuses on acquiring a greater degree, such as a Ph.D. or A Master’s. For instance, a biology thesis for a Ph.D. may entail conducting unique research to discover a new scientific theory or specie.
Research paper: A research paper’s key purpose is to add to the current knowledge on a subject and focus on scholarly sources. It is a major difference between thesis and research paper. It concentrates on investigating a specific research question or hypothesis, presenting the findings, and examining the gathered data. For instance, an economics research paper may examine the effect of a particular policy on economic growth by examining data from multiple sources.
Thesis: Extensive research is the prerequisite for writing a thesis with an extensive investigation of the selected topic. It is a major difference between thesis and research paper. It calls for going deep into the current literature, critically examining the previous studies, and thoroughly discussing relevant theories, experiments, or methodologies. The thesis has a broader scope to address many facets of the selected topic. For instance, the history-based thesis may require analyzing several historical events, examining primary sources, and contrasting many distinct historical interpretations.
Research paper: The scope of investigation in a research paper is narrower, which makes a major difference between thesis and research paper. Usually, a research paper concentrates on solving a particular research question, giving a thorough analysis, or providing findings in a constrained context. The research paper’s scope is more focused on a particular facet or a dimension of the topic. For instance, a psychology-based research paper may examine the impact of a specific therapy method on a particular set of people.
Thesis: Original research and considerable contribution to the present knowledge in a specific field is vital in a thesis. The students are supposed to determine a research gap, frame the research question, and carry in-depth investigation to address the gap. New insights, methodologies, or theories must be generated from a thesis that can add to the development of the field. For instance, a computer science thesis may require advancing a novel software application or an algorithm to address a complicated problem.
Research paper: The scope of the researcher’s contribution is much narrower than a thesis, a major difference between thesis and research paper. The focus and analysis in a research paper are limited, leading to limited findings that do not contribute much to the field. It can provide new points of view or interpretations but cannot add to the overall knowledge of the subject. For instance, a sociology-based research paper may put forward a novel analysis of present survey data to challenge current sociological theories.
Thesis: There is a specific structure for writing a thesis that incorporates different parts, like the title page, abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results and analysis, discussion, conclusion, references, and appendices (optional). The organized and structured format gives a complete research and analysis framework. Each section has a specific purpose, and each provides coherence to the thesis.
Research paper: Research papers have a more flexible structure than a thesis, which is another major difference between thesis and research paper. The structure of a research paper depends on its topic, field of study, and requirements. It usually incorporates sections such as title page, abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references. The flexibility allows the researchers to structure the paper as per their paper’s requirements.
Thesis: A committee of professors or stalwarts of the field evaluates a thesis. The evaluation process includes a complete analysis of the research methodology and the complete development of the field. The readers of a thesis are academic scholars from the field, professors/lecturers, fellow researchers, and faculty members. The analysis concentrates on the uniqueness, depth of the research, and the quality of research conducted.
Research paper: There are multiple readers of a research paper, another major difference between thesis and research paper. The paper is read by scholars, professionals in the field, and researchers. They are generally analyzed through peer review before being presented at a conference or published in an academic journal. There may be a variation in the evaluation criteria for a research paper. The criteria relate to the validity and development of the research to the present knowledge.
Thesis: The length of a thesis paper is longer than that of a research paper, which is another major difference between thesis and research paper. It comprises extensive investigation and evaluation, leading to a greater word count. The time required to finish a thesis is also longer, often stretching across many years or semesters.
Research paper: The length of a research paper is much shorter than a thesis which is a major difference between thesis and research paper. The paper focuses on particular aspects of a topic, making it a comparatively shorter word count paper. The research paper can be completed within a few weeks or a semester.
After writing this blog on the major difference between thesis and research paper, it can be clearly concluded that the vital difference between the two academic papers rests in their purpose, scope, uniqueness, evaluation, structure, and length. The student’s academic journey ends through the thesis, and the paper makes a huge contribution to the field by adding new knowledge.
The thesis demands thorough research and extensive investigation of the selected topic. It requires originality, comprehensive contribution, addressing research gaps, and putting forward new ideas or methodologies.
In contrast, the research paper focuses on putting forward particular findings, interpretations, or examining within a narrow scope. The contribution of the research paper to its field of knowledge is much less than a thesis, which is a major difference between thesis and research paper.
Understanding the major difference between thesis and research paper is significant for students and researchers to guide their academic careers effectively. Knowledge about both types of papers can help them to formulate research objectives, choose correct methodologies, and put forward research outcomes in a way acceptable to their readers.
Who are the readers of a research paper?
Several persons, including researchers, scholars, and professionals, read the research paper.
Can a research paper be regarded as a thesis?
As per this blog on the major difference between thesis and research paper, it is clearly pointed out that both documents are different, so they cannot be regarded as the same.
What is the purpose of a thesis?
The purpose of a thesis is to showcase a student’s understanding of a subject, demonstrate his critical and analytical abilities, and add novel knowledge to the academic community.
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