The differences between a dissertation and a regular research paper are substantial. This paper will discuss these differences and examine the elements of a dissertation. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of research performed for each type of paper. Research for a dissertation, compared to a regular paper, is substantial. The second difference is that the dissertation proposes an original investigation of a topic. The third difference is that the arguments in support of the dissertation’s thesis must be sufficiently thorough to withstand critique from a dissertation committee. So important is the quality of arguments presented by a dissertation, that it undergoes review by a committee consisting of the dissertation advisor and other professors. This is called the dissertation defense. Finally, two elements of the dissertation not present in a regular paper are the literature review and suggestions for further review.