There are several differences between dissertations and other forms of writing assignments. There are several reasons for these differences. For example, a dissertation will require a better understanding of a topic, and a better standard of writing skills, compared to something like an essay. Your writing skills should be better in a dissertation as it will be your final written work in the university. We are going to look at several ways how dissertations are different from other writing papers.
#1. The Length
One of the obvious differences is the length of each of the papers. An essay will usually be between 1000 and 2000 words. They can be longer in the third and fourth years of university.
Dissertations are much longer. It will usually be around 15,000 words. The noticeable difference between a dissertation and other forms of writing is the volume of those writings. Dissertations are a lot longer and more in-depth than the others.
Which leads us to our next point…
#2. The Depth
In a dissertation, you are required to go into a lot more in-depth into the chosen subject and question, compared to an essay.
In an essay, you don’t have the space to write in-depth about your subject and question; you are expected to get to the point quickly. This can be helpful on one hand as you won’t be waffling needlessly. However, on the other hand, it doesn’t give you space like a dissertation does, to demonstrate that you understand the subject well.
#3. The Importance
Dissertations are more important than essays. They are more important because you cannot retake a dissertation; you have one chance to complete the dissertation. With essays, however, you often have a second chance at the essay. This is also true with exams during your early years.
During the first few years at the university, you will have a second chance to sit exams. In your first few years at the university, you will have two chances to sit your exams and your essays – you do not have that option with your dissertations. Therefore, your dissertation is more important.
There is a greater flexibility with your dissertation if compared to your essay. With the dissertation, you are in control. You get to choose the subject and the essay question – within the reason of the course.
It means that it needs to be a question where you can answer the question fully. That means that it needs to be a question that is going to give you enough information to dedicate 15,000 or so words to, you need to write in your dissertation.
Writing essays does not allow you this flexibility. With essays, you are either assigned a specific question, on a specific topic. Or, you have a small list of essay questions to choose from.
What about Dissertations and Theses?
So lastly, we have the differences between dissertations and a thesis. A thesis is an academic paper, which you usually do in a Master’s.
As a Master’s degree is more advanced than an undergraduate dissertation, you are required to show a deeper level of understanding of your subject. It should be noted that you can also do a dissertation at PhD level – this means that your PhD dissertation will be more advanced than your Master’s thesis.
The aim of a Master’s paper is to show more in-depth knowledge on a subject. Essentially, it is a research degree. Therefore, a thesis is more of a paper which demonstrates your research skills, and how you can communicate those research skills. You will need a degree to do a Master’s.
There are several differences between a dissertation and other academic written works. Essays are usually short, about two pages long, they are done on questions chosen by the university, and, they require you to get to the point sooner. They are not as in-depth as a dissertation.
A dissertation is an in-depth written and researched piece, which will demonstrate your knowledge on a particular subject. It will also count towards whether or not you get a first, second or third, as your overall degree, which means it is much more important than your essay.
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