How To Differentiate Between Academic Papers: A Dissertation Vs. A Research Paper

There is more to the names research paper and dissertation. Each represents a unique academic exercise that will lead to different results. While both involve working with stacks of books, articles, journals and extensive work in the library, the intensity and end results vary significantly. Both will require a treasure hunt into the ideas of other people as well as a demand to personalize these points. However, they are fundamentally different in several aspects.

Research Paper

It is designed to argue a point from your perspective or based on certain facts. Regardless of the extent of references you make from the ideas and arguments of other people, you must summarize it by giving a personal view of the subject. An example is where the duties of a lawyer demand that he studies many cases. However, these cases will only be used to support his current one.

There are many versions of research papers including argumentative, evaluation, interpretation, etc. These are versions of an attempt to use your understanding to drive a particular point home. Extensive survey is required in the field to understand what experts know and say and use it to strengthen your opinion. There are guides to assist students and writers in developing an A+ quality research paper on any subject and in any discipline.


This is a paper that requires deeper thought with the support of experts or writers in the same field. However, the support is secondary to your thoughts as opposed to a research paper which largely relies on the opinion or words of other people. Dissertations are usually professional in nature. Their concentration is on a particular field of study. This means that you will be required to writer on medicine, physics, technology, communication, with greater attention on the nature or essence of the industry as opposed to its interaction with other disciplines.

Dissertations require in depth research and are considered more authoritative. They mainly are about ideas that are anchored on the discipline or subject of choice. The many of presenting facts for dissertations is rigorous and must be fact based. There is very little room for opinion that is not supported by professionally analyzed and presented data.

Ultimate Goal

Beside the structure and presentation of ideas between a dissertation and research paper, the completion of a dissertation leads to the award of an academic qualification. A research paper can be issued or written at any point in the course of your study but does not lead to any award.

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