Students usually get confused between a research paper and a thesis. Both assignments require in-depth research skills. But, they are different from each other in terms of purpose, length and methods. Read on to identify the key differences between thesis and research paper. It will help you take care of both the assignments with the utmost precision.
Thesis vs. Research Paper: Here's What You Need To Know
Both the thesis and research paper are common in graduate schools and postgraduate schools. The internal structure in both assignments is almost similar. It consists of the following:
- Literature review
- Research methodology
- Data analysis
Now that you know the common structure for both the assignments, let’s take a look at their differences.
The definition of a research paper and a thesis is somewhat different. Check them out.
A thesis is usually written by students to gain an academic qualification and degree. It is concerned with the central question or arguments of scholars, which leads to further research in your field. You don’t have to prove anything in the thesis.
A research paper, on the other hand, is about proving a central argument. It requires independent research on the topic. Usually, a research paper has nothing to do with a degree or qualification. But, it is an academic requirement for a class.
Both research paper and thesis consists of specific purposes.
- The purposes of thesis paper writing are to
- Identify a research question
- Highlight existing research work related to this question
- Synthesize data from your own research study accompanied by research findings of other experts in this field
The purposes of research paper writing are to:
- Focus on a problem or a real-time issue
- Assert a valid position related to the topic
- Critically present thoughts and opinions about it
Don’t worry if you are unable to understand the purpose of each assignment initially. Talk to your professors and start preparing your first drafts to get the hang of both the assignments.
3. Steps For Writing The Paper
You may need some time to get a solid grip on both methods. If you have tight deadlines, you can get online help.
How to Write a Research Paper?
Here’s how you need to take care of all the elements in your research paper.
1. Note down the data collected
A research paper is mainly about credible data, analyses, plots and tables.
Tips to remember
- Organize the results in a logical sequence
- Create figures and consolidate data plots
- Note down the crucial points of your research
Supervisors aren’t interested in ALL the findings of your research. Identify two or three most important findings and discuss them in your research paper.
2. Write a relevant & impressive title
Make sure the title accurately reflects the context of your research paper.
Tips to remember
- It should be short and simple
- Provide approximately five keywords in the title
- Avoid acronyms and abbreviations
The Effect of Temperature on Global Warming
Does Temperature Affect Global Warming?
3. Introduce the research to your readers
The introduction determines whether or not your supervisors will read the rest of the research paper.
Tips to remember
- Start with general background information on the topic
- Discuss existing researches conducted by other experts
- Highlight the main points of your current research in the hypothesis
This research determines the relationship between tree density and fruit size.
The hypothesis states the main purpose of your research paper.
This study aims at understanding how an enzyme concentration affects.
4. Discuss the experimental methods
This section is a straightforward description of the scientific methods you have used in your study.
Tips to remember
- Divide this section into Characterisation, Materials and Methods, Data analysis and Measurements
- Describe each technique used in the research
- Include the statistical methods used to analyze the results
The results section highlights the experimental data to your readers. The discussion section interprets the results.
Tips to remember
- Compare or contrast your data with previous results
- Use tables and figures to support your claims
- Highlight the relationship between your hypothesis and results
However, you must try to avoid the excessive presentation of data or results without proper discussion.
6. Conclude the research paper
The conclusion is where you need to summarise the crucial findings of your research.
Tips to remember
- Include the major findings of your research
- State the applications of the findings in real life
- Answer or prove the hypothesis that you have mentioned in the introduction
Your supervisors would want to know the significance of your findings and the conclusion is the best place to explain that. You can take a look at research paper examples for a clearer idea.
How to write a thesis paper?
There are two types of thesis papers- undergraduate and postgraduate. Follow the guidelines below to write any of these papers.
1. Include a title page
The title tells the readers what your research is about. Write it down in capital letters, as shown.
Title: A NEW TECHNIQUE FOR CORRECTION OF CUBITUS VARUS DEFORMITY
A good title should consist of:
- The full name of the author
- Type of degree
- The name of the degree program
- University’s name
Make sure the title page is succinct, specific, descriptive and representative of your research. The title page format may vary depending on your discipline.
2. Write an abstract
An abstract is a succinct summary of your thesis paper. It should be able to represent why and how you did what you did and what the results are.
The abstract should NOT have:
- Lengthy contextual or background information
- Unnecessary adverbs and adjectives
- Redundant phrases
3. Craft an introduction
This is where you need to introduce the main subject of your thesis and describe your aims and objectives.
The two main goals of an introduction are:
- Provides a direction for the rest of the thesis paper
- Expand the material summarised in the abstract
4. Write a ‘literature review’ chapter
This chapter shows that you are aware of your own piece of research.
Tips for writing a proper literature review:
- Describe the existing state of research in your field
- Identify gaps where you can argue if further research is required
- Explain how you can attend to that particular research gap
Describe and justify the data gathering method you have used. You can also outline how you analyzed the data in this section.
Types of data to include here:
- Description of research design (internal or external validity)
- Justification for the type of method or sample used for choosing units of observation
- Administration of methods for making observations (questionnaires, interviews, etc.)
- Description of data analysis (statistical analysis and tests performed.
- identification of qualitative or historical research)
6. Note down your findings
In most disciplines, it is instructed to bring the findings and discussions together in the same chapter.
Tips to remember:
- Address the results from your data analysis
- Outline any descriptive or exploratory analyses
- Illustrate and summarise all numeric data in tables and figures
- Discuss the findings in relation to the theoretical framework mentioned in the literature review
Hopefully, the difference between a thesis and a research paper is clear to you now. Both documents play an integral part in improving your overall academic performance. A research paper exposes you to new information in your area of interest. A thesis, on the other hand, is mainly written to attain a particular academic qualification.
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