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Define Phd Dissertation Database

If you’re contemplating graduate school, you may have heard that a comprehensive paper is required to graduate, and you likely wonder what exactly is the difference between a thesis and a dissertation. It’s good that you’re thinking ahead. There are definite differences between the two terms, though they are sometimes used interchangeably and often confused. Both papers are similar in their structure, as they contain an introduction, literary review, body, conclusion, bibliography and appendix. Beyond that, the similarities basically end. Let’s delve further into the definition of each and the differences between them.

Basic Thesis and Dissertation Differences

The main difference between a thesis and a dissertation is when they are completed. The thesis is a project that marks the end of a master’s program, while the dissertation occurs during doctoral study. The two are actually quite different in their purpose, as well. A thesis is a compilation of research that proves you are knowledgeable about the information learn throughout your graduate program. A dissertation is your opportunity during a doctorate program to contribute new knowledge, theories or practices to your field. The point is to come up with an entirely new concept, develop it and defend its worth.

Structural Differences Between a Thesis and a Dissertation

A master’s thesis is kind of like the sorts of research papers you are familiar with from undergrad. You research a topic, then analyze and comment upon the information you gleaned and how it relates to the particular subject matter at hand. The point of the thesis is to show your ability to think critically about a topic and to knowledgeably discuss the information in-depth. Also, with a thesis, you usually take this opportunity to expand upon a subject that is most relevant to a specialty area you wish to pursue professionally. In a dissertation, you utilize others’ research merely as guidance in coming up with and proving your own unique hypothesis, theory or concept. The bulk of the information in a dissertation is attributed to you.

Finally, there is a difference in length between these two major works. A master’s thesis should be at least 100 pages in length, likely a bit beyond that. However, a doctoral dissertation should be much longer, because they involve a great deal of background and research information, along with every detail of your proposal and how you arrived at the information, according to Purdue University. A dissertation is an extremely complex work. It will likely be two, possibly even three, times the length of a thesis. You will receive guidance from a faculty member who will serve as your dissertation adviser. This adviser will be there to point you in the right direction if you are stuck, can assist in locating resources and ensure that your proposal is on the right track.

Related Resource: Capstone Project

Each school and program has its own guidelines for what a thesis and dissertation should contain, as well as its structure. However, you now have an overview of the difference between a thesis and a dissertation.

How to Cite A Dissertation

 

1) Are dissertations published or unpublished – and how can I tell the difference?

 

2) How should I cite a dissertation or thesis published by ProQuest/UMI?

 

3) CIIS citation formats – APA, MLA, Chicago, AAA

 

1) Are dissertations published or unpublished – and how can I tell the difference?

The majority of dissertations done at institutions in the United States and Canada – including CIIS – and some dissertations from institutions in other countries are published through ProQuest/UMI.

The way to tell whether the work in question is published is to search their database, called ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (Members of the CIIS community can access it through our library Web site). If you find a record for the work in question, assume that it is published unless that record lists only an abstract (i.e., there’s no full text available and/or no link to order a copy). If you do not see it listed in this database, but know it was from a school in the United States, check with a reference librarian by sending an e-mail to askref [at] ciis [dot] edu.

If the dissertation is from an institution in another country, and not listed in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, see if you can find it through one of the other dissertation links on the CIIS Library Research Resources page.


2) How should I cite a dissertation or thesis published by ProQuest/UMI?

Follow the format specified in the most recent edition of the style manual you choose; and – if it is not already required by that style – include the ProQuest/UMI publication number in the References citation. Publication numbers are akin to the standard identification numbers for books (ISBNs), and will make it easier for future researchers using your work to unambiguously identify the work you are citing.

How can you find the publication number? Search for the item in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (available via the CIIS Library website). You will find it in the citation; publication numbers usually begin with the letters AAT, with several numbers following, as in these two examples:

I ain't fattening frogs for snakes: An inquiry into the application of creativity research to teaching practice by Crowe, Byron Dan, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2010, 145 pages; AAT 3411606

Images of pain, images of pain relief: Multimodal expressive arts therapy and pain management
by Kasai, Aya, M.A., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2008, 143 pages; AAT 1451129


3) CIIS citation formats – APA, MLA, Chicago, AAA

APA citation format for a published dissertation:

Author. (year). Title in italics (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (Accession Order No. [number])

Crowe, B. D. (2010). I ain't fattening frogs for snakes: An inquiry into the application of creativity research to teaching practice (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (Accession Order No. AAT 3411606)

APA citation format for a published MA thesis:

Author. (year). Title in italics (Master's thesis). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (Accession Order No. [number])

Kasai, A. (2008). Images of pain, images of pain relief: Multimodal expressive arts therapy and pain management (Master's thesis). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (Accession Order No. AAT 1451129)

MLA citation format for a published dissertation:

Author. Title in italics. Dissertation, School. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI, date. (Publication No. [number].)

Crowe, Byron Dan. I ain't fattening frogs for snakes: An inquiry into the application of creativity research to teaching practice. Dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI, 2010. (Publication No. AAT 3411606.)

MLA citation format for a published MA thesis:

Author. Title in italics. Thesis, School. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI, date. (Publication No. [number].)

Kasai, Aya. Images of pain, images of pain relief: Multimodal expressive arts therapy and pain management. Thesis, California Institute of Integral Studies. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI, 2008. (Publication No. AAT 1451129.)

Chicago citation format for a published dissertation:

Author, year. Title in italics. [Degree] dissertation, school. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI, date. (Publication No. [number].)

Crowe, Byron Dan. 2010. I ain't fattening frogs for snakes: An inquiry into the application of creativity research to teaching practice. PhD dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI. (Publication No. AAT 3411606.)

Chicago citation format for a published MA thesis:

Author, year. Title in italics. [Degree] thesis, school. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI, date. (Publication No. [number].)

Kasai, Aya. 2008. Images of pain, images of pain relief: Multimodal expressive arts therapy and pain management. MA thesis, California Institute of Integral Studies. Ann Arbor: ProQuest/UMI. (Publication No. AAT 1451129.)

AAA citation format for a published dissertation:

Author
 year Title without italics. [Degree] dissertation, school. (Publication nbr. [number].)

Crowe, Byron Dan
 2010 I ain't fattening frogs for snakes: An inquiry into the application of creativity research to teaching practice. PhD dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies. (Publication nbr. AAT 3411606.)

AAA citation format for a published MA thesis:

Author
 year Title without italics. [Degree] thesis, school. (Publication nbr. [number].)

Kasai, Aya
 2008 Images of pain, images of pain relief: Multimodal expressive arts therapy and pain management. MA thesis, California Institute of Integral Studies. (Publication No. AAT 1451129.)

revised 10/2010