Kuni Tyessi, Abuja

The myriad of questions that has continued to erupt from postgraduate students about the differences, and similarities about thesis and dissertations has been laid to rest by the pioneer President of the Nigeria Pragmatic Association, and a professor of Discourse Analysis and Pragmatic, University of Ibadan, Professor Akin Odebunmi.

Odebunmi said either thesis or dissertation are products of research which are expected to be defended and can be used interchangeably based on the decision and choice of an institution.

He made this known, at the first post graduate research workshop on ‘Current Research Trends in Language and Literature’, organised by the department of English, Nasarawa State University, Keffi.

He said sometimes the use of the terms is continental as some settle for thesis at the masters level and dissertation at the doctoral level, adding that it is the reverse for some, but either will apply for the academic discipline as they both have different features.

According to him, “It depends on what your institution adopts. In UI, we have different names for these degrees. Our students at the first degree level, write long essays. They don’t write project. At the masters degree level, they write project. So we call what they write MA project. At the M Phil level which is a terminal degree, we write a dissertation. At the PhD level, they write the thesis. This is done just to settle the problem of what dissertation and thesis are.

“Sometimes in some institutions, even the ones abroad, a PhD student writes a dissertation and not a thesis. So it depends on which one is adopted. In Ife, where I had my own PhD, a thesis is written by an MA student. Usually when it has to be defended, it is called a thesis. When it doesn’t have to be defended, they call it a project.”