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The Difference Between a Manuscript, Thesis, and Dissertation


When submitting academic work for consideration, there is a lot to consider. You need to be aware of referencing and formatting styles, not to mention your style, tone, and of course, spelling and grammar. But what exactly are you submitting? Is it a thesis, a manuscript, or a dissertation? Knowing the difference will assist in your academic journey.

 First and foremost, a thesis consists of a statement. During the writing process, your opinion needs to be investigated. Whether or not it is proven is not relevant; the thesis is a collection of your research and results—whatever they may be. Once you have a thesis statement, it helps to narrow down your research and provides a great starting block for your writing.

While the terms thesis and dissertation are often used interchangeably, some people think of them differently. Dissertations are usually book length, and can consist of years of original research on a topic.

To clarify, a dissertation is a lengthier, more in-depth version of a thesis.

Manuscripts can be considered as condensed parts of a thesis or dissertation. Whereas a thesis has a lengthy introduction, a manuscript is shorter and more to the point. It is possible to write several shorter manuscripts from one thesis since less information is required.

So, if a dissertation is the longest, most in-depth study, a thesis is a shorter version of the same thing. Manuscripts may be produced from sections of dissertations or theses, and are more focused in their content.