Thesis and dissertation

Both the thesis and the dissertation are academic research works that differ, mainly, by the degree of complexity, length and function. However, after preparing and presenting a thesis or a thesis, an academic degree can be obtained.

thesis is a theoretical or experimental research work, developed individually or in a group, in which an original topic is developed or from a new approach, with the intention of contributing knowledge to a specific area .

For its part, the thesis is a research work of less scope than a thesis, whose main purpose is to demonstrate the research and methodological capacity of the student. When preparing a thesis, it is not expected that an original topic will be developed or new contributions will be made in an area of ​​knowledge. However, this includes a review of the literature and a description of a problem.

DefinitionIt is a research work that aims to produce new knowledge or develop a specific topic from a novel approach, being the final requirement to obtain a degree or postgraduate degree.It is an individual monographic work that has the objective of demonstrating the mastery of a research methodology by the student, and with which they can obtain an academic degree or postgraduate degree.
Main purposeDevelop an original research work that provides new knowledge in an area of ​​knowledge.Demonstrate the ability of a student to develop a research work using a scientific methodology.
  • It is an in-depth investigation in a specific area.
  • It produces original knowledge or about something already known but with a novel approach.
  • Its approval allows access to an undergraduate or graduate degree.
  • It can be individual or group.
  • It is accompanied by a tutoring or orientation.
  • It must be submitted and approved by a jury.
  • It is a monographic investigation with high methodological rigor.
  • It is mainly theoretical-pragmatic.
  • Its approval allows the obtaining of a technical, undergraduate or postgraduate degree (except doctorate).
  • It is an individual job.
  • Tutorial accompaniment may be required.
  • It is common for it to be presented and defended before a jury.
Grades or levelsUniversity baccalaureate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate.Undergraduate and technical courses, university baccalaureate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Time of preparationDepending on the level, normally six months to three years.Depending on the level, from six months to two years.
ExtensionVariable, generally around 100 pages, and can reach 500 pages.Variable, around 50 pages, and can reach 100 pages.

What is a thesis?

thesis is a monographic research work of high methodological rigor prepared at the end of an academic year. Its purpose is to produce original knowledge on an unpublished topic, or a known topic from a new or little explored approach .

The thesis can be theoretical or experimental, and is carried out using a scientific methodology. In this the objectives, the problem, the hypothesis and the results of said work are clearly exposed.

The thesis document and its defense are conditions for obtaining an undergraduate or graduate degree . This work is presented before a jury, which asks the candidate questions, in order to decide if he is worthy of said degree.

Finally, with the approval of the thesis, the degree of bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate is obtained, as the case may be.

Characteristics of the thesis

  • It is a rigorous research work in a specific area.
  • Its development must generate original knowledge, either by its content or by the approach of its elaboration.
  • Once presented, defended and approved, it grants access to an undergraduate or graduate degree.
  • Bibliographic references must be specific and relevant.
  • It can be prepared individually or in groups.
  • It is an argumentative or expository text.
  • If there is a research hypothesis, it is sought to prove or disprove it.
  • Its length is variable and depends on the level, generally between 50 and 100 pages (excluding references and annexes).
  • The elaboration time depends on the subject and the degree of data collection, being at least six months in the degrees and reaching about three years for a doctorate.
  • The conclusions must show the position of the researcher and be based on solid and relevant sources and arguments.
  • It must be approved by a jury and the defense can be accompanied by various audiovisual resources.
  • There is tutorial support for the student during the investigation and the preparation of the thesis.

Bachelor’s thesis

The bachelor’s thesis is intended to introduce the student to the practice and steps of research.

At this level, the candidate for a degree is not expected to carry out highly investigative work. The idea is that the student is able to develop a methodology and research problems and to explore ways of producing knowledge.

Master’s Thesis

The main characteristic of the master’s thesis is to analyze an unpublished or previously studied topic, generating new knowledge. To do this, a deep research work is carried out, generally on a hypothesis or theory, which will be tested or proposed.

While revolutionary scientific work is not expected, with the master’s thesis the goal is for there to be some contribution to knowledge in the student’s area of ​​academic interest.

Doctoral thesis

The doctoral thesis addresses an original topic, or from a novel perspective, starting from a research problem that is considered necessary to solve.

The type of research carried out is expected to be of high quality at a methodological, formal and referential level. In this way, the results obtained add new knowledge to the specific field or discipline.

What is a thesis?

The thesis is a monographic research work that is carried out individually and whose objective is for the student to demonstrate that they have the ability to carry out an investigation following an appropriate methodology.

Both the thesis and the thesis have similar characteristics. Both share the rigorous use of a methodological framework. However, the depth and length of a thesis is less than that of the thesis.

As with the thesis, with the thesis you can obtain an academic degree. These are generally undergraduate, graduate, and graduate degrees. However, unlike the thesis, the presentation, defense and approval of a thesis does not lead to obtaining a doctorate.

Characteristics of the thesis

  • It is a monographic investigation of a specific topic (but less in depth than in the thesis).
  • It presents the analysis of a topic and shows that the student has mastered the methodology and its research approach.
  • Once presented, defended and approved, it grants access to an undergraduate or graduate degree (except doctorate).
  • It is elaborated individually.
  • Bibliographic references must be specific and relevant.
  • It is an argumentative or expository text.
  • If there is a research hypothesis, it is sought to prove or disprove it.
  • Its length is variable, comprising about 40 or 50 pages of running text on average (without including references or annexes).
  • The processing time can range from six months to two years, depending on the level.
  • He appears before a jury for his defense.
  • You may require tutorial support and follow-up.

Structure of a thesis or thesis

Both the thesis and the thesis must follow a logical structure that communicates the research process, its objectives, problems, the methods and its results.

There is no single way to elaborate the structure that a thesis or dissertation follows. For example, the theoretical and the methodological framework can be presented in separate chapters of the document, or they can be located in the same chapter as sub-chapters.

In the same way, it is possible that the results section is linked to the discussion section or that it is a separate section.

The specific format of the thesis or thesis will depend on the rules or recommendations of each institution, university, department or school.

Below, you can see a general structure, commonly used.

Cover page

The cover is used to identify the document. In this you will find the name of the institution, faculty and school (or department), the title of the thesis, identification of the degree, identification of the author, identification of the jury, identification of the tutor, date and location.

Summary or synthesis

The abstract briefly sets out the objectives, methodology, results and conclusions of the research. It indicates the nature of the work and is a short text, generally less than 300 words. In addition, it is accompanied by a series of keywords on the main topics included in the thesis.

Index of contents

In the table of contents, readers are located spatially in the document, indicating the chapters, sub-chapters and general content of the thesis on their respective pages. There can be more than one list of contents, in case there are graphs, figures or tables.


The introduction presents the objective or purpose of the research carried out, its foundations, the hypothesis (if any), its importance in the specific discipline and its methodology. It is a short text, so it is developed in a few pages. You can incorporate a summary of each chapter of the thesis.

Background and problem statement

In the background section, information and other previous investigations (if any) that have served as the basis of the topic to be discussed are indicated. The problem that has been worked on, its relationship with the background and how the perspective chosen by the student covers it (objectives, hypotheses, research questions, methodology, etc.) is also pointed out. This section serves to contextualize the research.


The justification attempts to answer questions related to the importance of the type of research carried out and its usefulness (academic, scientific and social).

Theoretical, reference or conceptual framework

In the theoretical framework (also known as the reference or conceptual framework), the literature pertinent to the object of study is systematically presented and analyzed. Here the most important concepts are exposed and explained, according to the scientific work already carried out on the subject. It proposes the framework of concepts on which the subject will be understood and defines the field of study.

Methodological framework

The methodology used to develop the research is framed within the methodological framework, so that it can be replicated or put to the test by other researchers. Issues such as the research design, the method (if it was qualitative, quantitative or mixed), the techniques, the instruments used, analysis of the samples, etc. It should be succinct, clear and descriptive.

Results and Discussion

In the results section, the most important results obtained are presented, as a result of the methodology used and corresponding to the objectives of the research. It is important to contrast what the research has generated with the hypothesis presented. The presentation of results usually includes tables, graphs, diagrams or other visual resources that help the interpretation of the data and results. There may be a brief discussion on the scope and limitations of the research.

Conclusions and recommendations

The conclusions of the research are presented. It is important to say what was achieved with the research work, considering its results. If the hypothesis is accepted or rejected (if there is one) and what this work brings to the area of ​​knowledge. Future recommendations may be included.

Bibliographic references

The bibliographic references are constituted by the bibliographic information of the texts, documents, sources or elements used to elaborate the work and cited in it. It is important that the references are clear and can be traced to verify the good use of them, in addition to avoiding any problem related to the plagiarism of material. Generally, each institution uses specific style standards in the writing of references.

Annexes or appendices

The annexes, also known as appendices, are those elements that complement what was developed in the research. Here are placed copies of instruments, images, copies of some important reference, graphics, etc.

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