In this blog post, we will explain the research paper, thesis, and the difference between a research paper and a thesis in easy steps.
Many new researchers are confused about these terms: research paper, synopsis, and thesis. When I started my Ph.D., I was also in the same state. It has been a long time since I completed my Ph.D. And now I am very much aware of all these research-related terms. Researchers can also read other related posts from the homepage.
A thesis is long academic writing by a researcher to obtain a degree. It contains detailed information on a topic While a research paper is written as part of a subject. It contains a specific description of a topic. In the thesis, a researcher does personal research whereas in the latter he describes his findings. Although both are part of academic writing they differ in certain ways.
In this next section, the differences between a research paper and a thesis are presented. Moreover, we will also provide you the sample examples of research papers and thesis both.
Differences between research paper and thesis
|Objective||A research paper is expected to give a piece of new information to its readers.||The objective of writing a thesis is to get a qualification.|
|Process||While a research paper is usually written individually and published in a specific journal.||A thesis is written with the help and supervision of a guide.|
|Length||While the research paper contains around three thousand to five thousand words. It is around seven pages.||A thesis contains around twelve to thirty thousand words and can be 40-200 pages.|
|Author||It can be written by anyone: an academician, an undergraduate, or an employee.||It is specifically written by students who are enrolled in post-doctoral or P.hD. studies.|
|Structure||A research paper contains the title of the paper, introduction, literature review, research methodology, data analysis, results, conclusion, and reference page.||A thesis has an abstract, introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussions, and conclusions.|
|Example||Here is a direct link to open a research paper.||Here is a direct link to open a thesis.|
The objective of writing a thesis is to get a qualification. Generally, students write the thesis. While the objective of a research paper is to get knowledge. A research paper is expected to give a piece of new information to its readers. It is written on a specific subject by a researcher.
A thesis is written with the help and supervision of a guide. A student has to collect, analyze and present the data in his thesis. The supervisor comments and advices to make changes to the thesis. After the preparation of the final draft. It is to be presented to the review committee who grades the work. While a research paper is written individually and published in a specific journal. It contains gathered data, findings, and results.
The thesis is longer in length than the research paper. A thesis contains around twelve to twenty thousand words and can be around 40 pages. While the research paper contains around three thousand to five thousand words. It is around seven pages.
A thesis is a complex piece of academic writing. It is specifically written by students who are enrolled in post-doctoral or P.hD. studies. It is written over a long duration. This duration can be from 3 to 6 years. It contains several research papers embedded within it. While a research paper is a summary of the findings of the experiments done by a researcher. It can be written by anyone: an academician, an undergraduate, or an employee.
A thesis has a statement or a central idea that is explored throughout. It contains all the possibilities of research interest while forming anti-theses and theses around the idea. It also has past and future work to be done mentioned in it. While the research paper is written to prove the central idea. It has supporting evidence that proves the central idea. Further, it is a representation of results and does not contain any background information.
The audience for a thesis is supervisors, university scholars, and faculty concerned with the research department. It is used for presentational purposes. It is generally not used outside universities as it does not contain new research. While a research paper can be used by anyone after it is published in a journal. It can be cited and referred to by others in their research work.
Difference in structure
Structure of a thesis
A thesis has an abstract, introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussions, and conclusions. An abstract is an overview of the thesis. It gives a general idea about research. The introduction includes the problem statement, the significance of the thesis, research questions, assumptions, limitations, and definitions of specific terms.
It is written to explain the research question and explain the audience’s significance of it. The literature review gives an evaluation of previous works in the same research area and explains the significance of writing this particular thesis to solve the problem the other works could not present. It uses several sources, presents both positive and negative research arguments, covers major ideas of the particular research area, and presents all the information in a structured manner. The methods that are employed while writing this thesis are mentioned. Also, the reason these particular methods are chosen is also written. The results answer the research question in the thesis. The discussions include our understanding and interpretation of the collected data. It also includes limitations of our study, future work, and questions that are unanswered. The conclusions state the objectives that have been fulfilled.
Structure of a research paper
A research paper contains the title of the paper, introduction, literature review, research methodology, data analysis, results, conclusion, and reference page. The first page of the research paper should include the title, name of the researcher, date, and the learning institute where the researcher is pursuing it.
An introduction should include all the research problems that are going to be presented in the research paper. They should also include solutions and recommendations of the same. It is a summary of what a research paper is going to include. The literature review presents theoretical research. All the information gathered from the sources, i.e., books, journals, and academic papers, should be mentioned. The data should be properly structured and cited in a proper format. The methodology includes the methods employed during research. These can be experimental data, observations, or statistical information.
In the data analysis section, the experimental data that we have presented needs to be analyzed. This data’s significance and how it can be used for experiments can be discussed. Any new data found should be presented here. The results should include all the data that was presumed at the start theoretically and compare it with experimental data. It should state the limitations and shortcomings of the data along with its beneficial use. The conclusion should be clear regarding achieving the purpose of the research paper.
The structure of the thesis is similar to that of a research paper yet different. The difference lies in new experimental data. While in a research paper always new data that is researched is represented, in a thesis already existing data is used to form a thesis statement. Moreover, before writing a thesis a scholar is supposed to submit a proposal to the instructor. After the approval only it should be written. Such is not in the case of a research paper, anyone can submit it to a valid journal and get it published.
The differences between a research paper and thesis in terms of objective, process, length, author, central idea, audience, and structure has been mentioned above.
In short, the difference between a research paper and a thesis is a long written report specifically written by Master, M.Phill, Ph.D. students to get the degree while a research paper is short report on the findings of a researcher.
We wish that the written blog post on the difference between a research paper and a thesis has given you some good insights on thesis and research paper.
More similar posts to read:
- How to start a Ph.D. research program in India?
- 8 important Tips for New Ph.D. students
- How to write and publish a research paper for journal publication?
Dr. Sunny is an Assistant Professor in higher education. He has completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science.