What is the Difference between Research paper and Thesis?

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IdealAssignmentHelp | 21-10-2019

What is the Difference between Research paper and Thesis?

A thesis or dissertation work and research paper are all part of academic studies of studies. Both are used to present a study on certain topics. They both differ based on objectives, preparation methods, Contents, and the methodology involved. 

A thesis is a document written to obtain a degree or a qualification. Generally, for students undergoing postgraduate courses such as MBA or Ph.D. It is written under the guidance of a faculty who guides the entire process of thesis writing. It enhances the skills of students in undergoing independent research and also their presentation skills.  

A research paper is based on thorough and conclusive research upon a given subject. Students may either conduct primary research i.e., working upon original facts or may conduct secondary research i.e. working upon an already conducted research. Research papers are based upon certain shreds of evidence that are accumulated to prove a particular point. They are generally short in comparison to a thesis and can be prepared within two-three months.

However, there is a fundamental difference between both of them. The basic difference between the two has been summarized below:

  1. Objectives
    A thesis or dissertation is usually prepared to discuss a central question or a common argument that leads to further research. On the other hand, a research paper contains the findings of complete research upon a given topic. A thesis may contain all the points which either proves or disproves the given possibilities of a topic. On the other hand, research is all about proving the central thesis statement with acquired evidence and data. We can see that a research paper is all about proving the thesis.
  2. Preparation
    The preparation of a thesis paper is generally done through extensive and critical thinking upon the given topic. This process involves a lot of brainstorming work. On the other hand, the preparation of a research paper involves the accumulation of shreds of evidence, conducting primary and secondary research upon the topics, etc. This primary or secondary research involves reading a book, an article, interviewing a person or analysing a given situation. The research paper can be viewed as a mere expansion of a thesis paper.
  3. Contents to be included
    As discussed earlier, a thesis paper is done through extensive thinking upon a given topic. Therefore, it does not include the system of methods that are used in a particular area of study. However, the methodology part is to be included in a research paper. The researcher may either follow a quantitative or a qualitative method in conducting its research. A thesis paper deals with a single question upon a given topic. On the other hand, a research paper may include several questions to prove his points. These questions may be in favour of or against the given topic.
  4. Methodology
    Research is done in two ways. Either by conducting primary research or by undergoing secondary research. On the other hand, a thesis is only concerned with one central argument. A research paper is an extension of a thesis is prepared by analysing it from all the ways possible. On the other hand, a thesis is just prepared to find a valid hypothesis for a given argument. The methodology used behind preparing a research report is to find out pieces of evidence supporting its main points. On the other hand, the methodology used in preparing a thesis is to dig deeper and deeper into one single argument.
  5. Time for Preparation
    Generally, research paper is made based on primary or secondary research and the supportive pieces of evidence obtained. A thesis is more of a brainstorming task. Therefore, research papers take less time to prepare in comparison to the preparation of a thesis. Sometimes, it takes years to complete the entire thesis report. Moreover, the research report can be conducted independently, but a thesis report is always to be made under a supervisor having extensive knowledge upon the given topic. 


The thesis paper argues over a single point. However, it does not provide a concrete conclusion upon the given topic. On the other hand, a research paper gives a concrete conclusion upon the topics researched based upon the pieces of evidence obtained. In short, we can say that a research paper is a mere continuation of a thesis report.

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