Dissertation Vs Research Paper: A Study Manual For College Students
College students often ask the answer to this popular question that
“What is the basic difference between a dissertation and a research paper?”
They tend to ask this question because they are new to such academic assignments and do not understand the differences clearly. If a student steps into his college or university, he may not have a clear distinction between a thesis, term paper, research paper, and a doctoral dissertation. It is important to have the answer to these questions because you will be facing these terms in your career as a student. You should never hesitate to ask such questions from your teacher even because they are there to help you and will love to guide you if you have any confusion regarding the academic course.
The basic difference between a research paper and a dissertation is that the former is a personal observation and a comprehensive study about a certain subject during the course of your degree. You will have to attempt many of these papers during various semesters in your degree. They are shorter in length than thesis and are considered as a part of that subject. It is not a separate subject or module that will decide whether you qualify for the degree or not. The writer in this case does not necessarily have to come up with new ideas but he can as well present a critical analysis of the existing theories in that area. You will complete a couple of research papers in one degree and none of them decides your final grade or qualification level. They contribute to your overall score in an accumulative class performance
A dissertation on the other hand is different. It is a long document written to obtain a certain academic degree or qualification. It might take a year or more to write a strong dissertation and you have to write only one such project in the course of your degree. This is also called a thesis and usually requires advanced level students like PhD, Masters, postgraduates, and graduates to submit the project to a committee of official members who approve or reject it based on the requirements and standards.
While writing this type of a project, college students will have a supervisor along with you to guide you through out the process and help you create a strong project to present in front of the official committee members. The project requires you to add your own original ideas unlike other academic papers and is critical for your degree and employment both.