Thesis vs Research Paper

Published 16 October, 2023

A thesis and a research paper are two different writing formats used for academic purposes. A thesis is usually an in-depth study of the topic that considers all aspects of the situation, while a research paper provides more specific information on the subject matter or problem.
They are both very different in nature and content, as well as length and structure. A thesis is typically more formal and academic in tone while a research paper can be less formal with more of an emphasis on the findings. This blog post will explore some of the differences between writing a thesis and researching for a paper.

Introduction of Thesis

The thesis is basically an academic document that students write for obtaining an academics degree. Students studying in the final year of their graduation need to prepare a thesis before the issuance of a degree from educational institutions. You need to write a thesis under the supervision of a Supervisor who will provide guidance and give feedback on the draft of the thesis. The main purpose of writing a thesis is to gather, analyze and present information in front of mentors from the respective universities. A thesis is broader. Students have to select the topic which should be relevant to the field to the area of specialty. You need to get your thesis to approve by your supervisor. You may have to spend a number of months writing a thesis because it is quite difficult to collect and analyze data. Therefore, it is very much essential for you to follow the proper process. In many of the countries where students call a thesis a Dissertation.

Introduction of Research Paper

A research paper is basically an individual academic document. It is basically a publication of research findings which you need to publish after properly analyzing the data which you have collected by applying different techniques. Basically, research papers are short in length in comparison to the thesis. The research paper only contains descriptions of specific and relevant information. On the other hand, the thesis mainly concentrates on a broader field. A research paper is basically a document that contains the research results which you draw from information that you have collected. It has its own document, there is a specific research methodology that you need to follow. Every academic paper has its own journal in which you can publish. For instance, for the journal of international marketing you need to publish information related to marketing only. Researcher papers are a contribution of the researcher in the field of specialty.

Read Also: How to write a good research paper

Major Differences between research paper and Thesis

Research Paper Thesis
The main objective of writing a research paper is to make significant contributions in a specific field. Students write a Thesis for education purposes. Generally, students write a thesis for obtaining a master’s or bachelor’s degree.
The research paper mainly contains specific and narrow descriptions of the subject. The thesis is broader. It does not contain a description of the subject or topic.
You need not require guidance from a supervisor. As research papers are generally published by journals. You for writing a thesis need proper supervision and guidance from your supervisor. A research paper can be kept in the record of the university.
Research papers are short in length. You need to write a research paper mainly in 5 to 8 pages. An approximate  word count for a research paper is 3000 to 5000 It is basically a lengthy document. The Word count of the thesis basically ranges from  12000 to 20000. You need to write a thesis basically within 35 to 40 pages. It is
Researchers, audiences, organizations, firms, and businesses are the audiences of a research paper. Set committees, tutors, supervisors are the general audience. A thesis statement does not contain a new finding that is beneficial for businesses.
The research paper only describes the data specifically. You need to write the research paper in a concise and clear manner. The thesis includes a detailed description of each and every term. It also contains suggestions for further studies.
After validation of the research paper, you need to do citations and provide references for other studies. As the final document of the Thesis is not published and is mostly kept with the university records. You can not use the thesis for further studies. Students can not cite other studies.

Comparison between the structure of the Thesis and research paper

The main difference between the research paper and thesis is related to their structure, shown below:

Structure of Research paper

  • Title page: The research paper begins with the title page. On the title page of the research paper, you need to mention the name of the author, year of publication, and all other relevant information.
  • Abstract: Abstract for a research paper basically contains a detailed overview of a research paper.
  • Introduction: In the research paper introduction, you need to clearly state the topic. Students also need to provide a reason for selecting a particular topic.
  • Methodology: Here, you need to clearly define the research methodology which you are going to use for performing research.
  • Results: in this Section, the author describes the results and research findings which are the outcome of the data analysis.
  • Discussions: You need to have a research discussion on the basis of results and findings.
  • Conclusion: Here, you need to provide a research conclusion or summary of key points. Students should also demonstrate the importance of the study, s it will help you in developing interest of reading among the reader.
  • References: This section contains a list of resources that you are going to use for writing a research paper.

Structure of Thesis

On the other hand, the Thesis begins with a research proposal which you need to submit to the tutor. After getting the approval from the supervisor, you need to follow the below structure

  • Title page: On the title page of the thesis, you need to write the name of the students and instructor, date, and other relevant information related to the subject.
  • Abstract: Abstract in thesis mainly consists of a single-page summary of the complete thesis. It only includes the main point of the Thesis.
  • Introduction: Students need to include background information about the topic in the introduction section. It is also very much essential for students to clearly states the aims and objectives of their study.
  • Literature Review: In the literature section of the thesis, you need to include debates, opinions of different authors about a specific topic.
  • Methods: Here, in this section of the thesis, you need to clearly state the techniques which you are going to use for data collection, analysis, and interpretations. It also contains a description of the research design, questionnaire, etc.
  • Results: It is basically an important part of the thesis. You need to provide a description of the results on the basis of information that you have collected from different sources.
  • Discussion: In this section of the Thesis,  students need to have a discussion on all terms or main ideas.
  • Conclusion: It is basically the end of all chapters in the Thesis. Here, students need to provide a summary of important results.
  • Recommendations: In this section of the Thesis, you need to address gaps in the literature and need to provide suggestions for filing the same.
  • References: Here, you need to include the names of authors and articles which you have used for writing the thesis.
  • Bibliography: It is the section in the Thesis that contains the links which you or another researcher may use for gathering information. You can also include the research questionnaire form in this section.


Thesis and research papers are the two most common types of academic writing. They both have similarities but also distinct differences in their format, content, length, purpose, and audience. It is important to understand these distinctions so you can decide which one fits your needs best for any given project or assignment. If you need help choosing between thesis vs research paper formats, we’re here to guide you through this process with our knowledgeable team members who specialize in different subject areas. You can seek professional help for completing different types of assignments at reasonable costs. My Research Topics is basically a reliable support system for the students for all those students who really need help finishing the assignments.

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