Keep up-to-date on postgraduate related issues with our quick reads written by students, postdocs, professors and industry leaders. Confusingly, the terms dissertation and thesis are often used interchangeably within higher education and university environments or graduate school in the USA. Depending on the context, someone may refer to a project write up as a thesis while another person may call the same document a dissertation. In another scenario, both terms may refer to very specific and different things. The dictionary definitions of these two words are almost identical!
What is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Dissertation?
How to Structure a Dissertation | Step-by-Step Guide
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Ten things I wish I'd known before starting my dissertation
If you're contemplating graduate school, you may have heard that a comprehensive paper is required to graduate, and you likely wonder what exactly is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. It's good that you're thinking ahead. There are definite differences between the two terms, though they are sometimes used interchangeably and often confused. Both papers are similar in their structure, as they contain an introduction, literary review, body, conclusion, bibliography and appendix. Beyond that, the similarities basically end.
No ivory tower academia. In other words, your task is to ask a research question or set of questions and then set about finding the answer s. Simple enough, right? However, at its core, a dissertation is about undertaking research investigating something. This is really important to understand, because the key skill that your university is trying to develop in you and will be testing you on is your ability to undertake research in a well-structured structured, critical and academically rigorous way.