PhD writing tips

What Is The Main Difference Between Writing A Dissertation And An Essay?

In academic parlance, a dissertation is much different from an essay. While the former and the latter are often interchangeably used by the common students, replacing one with another would be grammatically incorrect. What are the discernible differences? Here is a detailed explanation.

The scope

The former is usually an extended written discourse on a subject of your choice. The latter is usually much shorter than the former one and you are usually given a topic to write and the word count is also clearly defined and specified. A perfect example of the former is – ‘Do you think socio-economic factors propel globalization? Support your argument with data from at least five countries.’ On the other hand, an ideal example of the latter is this – ‘The major theories of economic globalization.’

Etymological differences

The former is derived from the Latin word ‘dissertare’, which means debate in English. Therefore, for writing the former, you need to present different ideas into your piece. In addition to that, you need to import different contrasting theories and perspectives into your writing. Therefore, a mere analysis of the subject matter won’t suffice. You need to bring many more views into the writing piece so that the examiner gets to compare and contrast the views and reach a conclusion. However, for writing the latter, you need to follow a pretty much singular direction. The word itself comes from the French word ‘essaier’, which means to put to proof.

Research method

The research methods for both the types of essay are quite the same. However, for writing a dissertating, you need to do original research, which entails scientific experiments, surveying, interviewing, and field work. However, for writing the latter, you can rely on secondary research, which means you can derive information from and refer to original research papers. The former shows your true mastery on a subject matter, while the latter’s objective is to prove how articulate a writer you are. Therefore, the differences are in the details, in the writing style, research method and everything that comes in between.

Opinionative and non-opinionative

The former does not require your personal point of view, while you need to present your own opinion while writing a good essay.

If you want to know more about the differences between these two, you can download samples from the web or visit a college library to have a deeper understanding of the key differences.

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