Difference Between Thesis and Research Paper

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 28, 2023


Difference Between Thesis and Research Paper

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Some of the basic confusion introduced in our schools has yet to be cleared. It is the reason why we decided to select the often confused topic of the distinction between a thesis and a research paper. Many times in our academic projects, we have a thesis or research paper to work on.

Thesis and research papers are generally submitted as the final

assignment. In our country, we hardly get to see such assignments for the completion of courses, but in foreign countries, we often see such assignments.

Many of our students claim that they find it difficult to understand the difference between a thesis and a research paper. So it is important to familiarise ourselves with and understand these important topics. Although this difference is a bit difficult to understand because of the high degree of confusion,

Thesis vs. Research paper

The aspects that are common in a research paper and a thesis are that both are academic documents. But we know that there are a lot of differences between both documents. This difference can be caused by style, purpose, or specific components.

The basic difference between a thesis and a research paper is the purpose. The purpose of a thesis is to present it as a document written to support an academic qualification. It is longer in comparison to a research paper, and thus it is finished in several years. A thesis, also known as a dissertation, is usually connected with PG studies, i.e., taught at the Master’s degree, M.Phil., or Ph.D. level, and is performed under the guidance of an academic professional of the respective university. A guide or supervisor is the person who oversees and guides the progress of the person writing the thesis. One of the supervisor’s tasks is to develop presentation and writing skills and capability for research. In most universities, the guide or supervisor has the responsibility to meet with every student frequently and discuss how progress is going. But a research paper is usually written as a collective part of a topic and is not counted as a separate module or subject. This is the reason why it does not require an individual supervisor or guide.

Difference between a thesis and a research paper in tabular form

Parameters of comparisonThesisResearch paper
AudienceA thesis is a document that is generally written for an audience of graduates.A research paper is a document that can be written for both graduate-level and undergraduate-level audiences
Page limitsA thesis is a type of document that is generally longer in comparison to a research paper. On the other hand, a master ranges between 50 and 100 pagesA research paper ranges between 10 and 20 pages and is smaller in comparison to a thesis.
Original contributionWhile both a thesis and a research paper involve the original research first, a thesis is more significant because it involves the original contribution.A research paper is simply existing research, and it is a new analysis of existing data that is presented.
EvaluationA thesis is evaluated when a committee is formed that includes experts in the field.A research paper is evaluated by those who are course instructors. Sometimes they are also a small group of peers
TimeframeIn terms of time frame a thesis is finished within the course in a few semesters.In terms of time frame a research papers are finished in a single semester.
FormalityA thesis is a formal document with a different structure than a research paper. A thesis follows a specific format and has different sections.This doesn't exist in the same way in research papers.

What is a thesis?

The term thesis is taken from the Greek word tithenai. It means "to place." This initial definition was related to the origins of an intentional infinitive, which indicates "putting forth" of something. After this, the Greek word transformed into 'thesis'. In Greek, it means "to put forth something," akin to a proposal. This theme is a matter of argument today and is popularly called a ‘thesis’.

When we discuss a thesis, it is defined as a document that contains the findings and research. Students submit these to get a professional degree.

It starts a debatable point on which one could agree or disagree. In simple terms, it is described as a research report in written format that includes a problem that needs to be dealt with. The researcher presents the conclusion. This researcher also makes statements that support the conclusion. Thesis writing is compulsory. In the thesis, our primary focus is always on the novelty of the research.

Introduction to the thesis statement

The thesis statement is simply a one-line sentence. It is usually presented in written form at the end of the first paragraph. It provides an argument for the person reading it. It is a sort of blueprint for the thesis, which directs the writer when writing a thesis and provides guidance to the reader who reads it.

An important key element of a thesis

Argument: The first important element is that the reason for agreeing with the proposition is more than just focusing on point of view.

Maintenance of Argument: The second element is the maintenance of the argument.

The argument must be cogent enough by presenting appropriate logic and evidence.

Proposition: The third important element in a thesis is the proposition. It propagates an idea or recommendation.

Features of a good thesis.

  • A good thesis adds freshness and new knowledge to a pre-existing thesis.
  • It helps to communicate the core idea of research in a simple, clear, and shorter way.
  • An efficient thesis is an important statement or question.
  • A good thesis gives answers to how and why various questions are associated with a topic.
  • To get rid of confusion. It is presented carefully.
  • The thesis at the end gives a good reason for those who are reading and keeps them engaged.

What is a research paper?

A research paper might be defined as a piece of plagiarism-free and original research. Here the term research is associated with the repetition of the term research. Recurring searches in various realms prove that the questions of the central thesis are called research.

A research paper consists of questions about the central thesis, if not regularly, then usually. A research paper can be classified into two parts. In this classification, one is qualitative and the other is quantitative. Academic writing takes the form of a research paper. It is created using the author's unique study on a particular subject, coupled with its analysis and interpretation of the results.

An author typically begins writing a research paper using what he already knows about the subject and then attempts to learn from specialists. Gathering the most information possible also entails a comprehensive and organized study on a certain topic. Simply put, a research paper is a written and published report. It abstracts or make appear the outcomes of a scientific research. In this example, the review article is a critique of a previously published scientific publication. while the original research article is basically a scientific study

In the case of the primary research article, the research paper's author offers crucial details regarding the study.

How is a research paper started?

It is very pivotal to entail all the important sequences involved in writing a research paper. Without following all steps, a research paper will not be considered appropriate and right. When someone starts writing a research paper. One should always consider a topic that seems interesting but is also a bit challenging. Here, topic selection must be such that one can manage that topic easily. So, we can avoid these types of topics that are not simple and too technical, and the topic must not be such that very little information is available on it. The approach of researchers is an important factor that determines their efforts.

Steps of writing a research paper.

Picking the topic: The first and foremost step involved in writing a research paper is to choose a topic, which must be simple and as per the reader's interest. If we are starting with a topic that is not simple and per our likings, then it will be difficult for us to go through the topic and prepare a good research paper. So a good topic is indispensable. The selected topic can make a research project good or bad, which is why a lot of assertion is placed on the selection of an good topic.

Topic research : The second step is to do proper research on the topic. The research should be appropriate and factual. A research paper prepared without proper research will include wrong facts and information, which will not make it a good research paper. Research about a topic can be done through various sources to get the research correct, and these sources are selected as per the topic of the research.

Outlining: Outlining is necessary for the purpose of preparing a research paper.  It helps to get what the framework of the research paper is. The framework of a research paper gives a basic outline that needs to be followed while preparing a good research paper.

Performing actual writing: After choosing a topic, researching the topic, and making an outline, the next important step is to perform the actual writing of the research paper. It is possible only in circumstances when the writer has selected the apt topic. Then Conducted appropriate research. After this prepared a good framework to do the work of writing. In the end, after following all the steps, we can easily determine if our research paper is as per the mark or not. If it is not as expected, then changes can be made.

It can be done only when the writer has selected the appropriate topic, conducted proper research, and prepared a good framework to perform the writing. In the end, after following all the steps, we can easily determine if our research paper is as per the mark or not. If it is not as expected, then changes can be made.

Difference between a thesis and a research paper in tabular form.

  • The thesis is a type of document that has a broader description of the subject. In contrast, the research paper includes a less detailed description of that particular subject.
  • While the student submits the thesis for review by a committee of professors or an educational committee. In contrast, the research report is read and evaluated by scientists and other researchers.
  • The primary question or claim of an intellectual argument that calls for additional inquiry is the topic of the thesis. The research article, on the other hand, is concerned with supporting the main contention.
  • A thesis serves as a capstone undertaking. A research article, however, functions more like a journal's research manual.
  •  A document like a thesis is generally for a particular audience, usually at the graduate level. A research paper-type document can be presented for graduate- or undergraduate-level audiences.
  • The fundamental question or claim of a scholarly argument that motivates additional research is the focus of a thesis, whereas the main goal of a research paper is to support that claim.
  • Sometimes the term "thesis" is used in place of "research paper," but this is a rhetorical mistake when a part is used in place of the whole. The research paper normally includes the thesis statement, not the other way around.
  • When we talk about a thesis statement, we can see that it does not include methodology. But a research paper exhibits methodology. It may be quantitative or qualitative.


As we know that there are a lot of anti-foundational theories working against the classical model, as per these models, the lines of inquiry that come up as anti-theses must not be nullified. It might be presented conclusively that a research paper and a thesis have differences and similarities between them. Here the difference cause confusion to those who are dealing in these.

We have discussed various important points that will help you understand the difference between a thesis and a research paper. When the research paper is made public, it opens up job opportunities and fellowships for those who are new researchers. On the other hand, thesis writing helps students get a degree when the course is finished. These sound similar, but this can be elaborated on various grounds, and we hope this will help you understand the difference.


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"Difference Between Thesis and Research Paper." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 21 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-thesis-and-research-paper>.

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