Like all writers, scholars depend upon words used as precisely as possible. In contemporary academic English, “thesis” and “dissertation” are almost interchangeable, and in this book I’ll use them that way merely to provide some variety. A thesis can, of course, be a master’s thesis or an undergraduate thesis, but a dissertation is always written for a doctoral degree. The dictionary’s succinct definition of a dissertation omits any mention of a proposition to be defended, and length seems to be the dissertation’s principal characteristic. A thesis might be very brief indeed. Martin Luther came up with ninety-five of them, and crammed them all onto a document correctly sized for a church door. For modern-day academics, a dissertation is expected to contain a thesis, that is, this lengthy exposition of evidence and analysis is supposed to contain a core argument. It might be said that the thesis inhabits and animates the dissertation. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems, at least to publishers, that the thesis—the heart of the dissertation—has stopped ticking. Argument gone, all that is left is length.
A research proposal is another kind of a complicated academic writing you may be asked to complete pursuing a degree. It differs greatly from any other dissertation or thesis sample, as it is a practical proposal on some scientific investigation. It may even be of greater importance to your academia than any other paper you have submitted before. The tricky part in writing your research proposal paper is that it has to be 100% unique and original. No one will analyze a partially plagiarized research proposal, as it is supposed to promote a good start to your future career. Thus, you have to make sure you paper is grammatically flawless, well structured, and plagiarism free.