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Thesis Dissertation


Thesis, dissertation, and term paper projects have several elements in common, although they execute those elements in distinct ways; therefore, the student who has experienced one type of academic writing has laid a good foundation for further writing. Those common elements in theses, dissertations, and term papers are idea development, research, and writing.

First, thesis, dissertation, and term paper projects all require a strong idea that the writer may explore fully. The student may choose a larger idea in proportion to the length and depth of the project, but in general academic writing projects produce the best results when they explore highly specific and clearly delineated ideas. Students who are writing term papers may discuss old ideas through the uniqueness of their own research process, but students who are writing thesis and dissertation projects should attempt to discuss a heretofore unknown or underdeveloped idea, thus contributing something memorable and worthwhile to the field of study.

Second, theses, dissertations, and term papers require extensive research in proportion to their length. For instance, because the student probably only has one semester to create a term paper, he or she would perform the most in-depth research possible within that time limit, which may exclude obtaining certain obscure sources; however, the writer of a dissertation, whose production process can last several years, should fully research every aspect of the topic, including performing original research where necessary. For projects as large as theses and dissertations, students may even have to develop the methods to carry out their research ideas; for example, one may have to write a computer program that will calculate the answers to a number of mathematical questions that the idea raises.

Third, thesis, dissertation, and term paper projects demand an academic, objective tone, in which the writer balances his or her ideas with externally verifiable evidence. Students should take care to formulate their arguments in thesis statements or introductory chapters so that the readers know what to expect, and they should then explicate the argument point by point, employing good, logical transitions between those points.


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