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What is the difference between a 'thesis' and a 'dissertation'?
Strictly speaking, a thesis is a hypothesis, a conjecture, proposition or a statement that can be tested or rationally argued. A dissertation is an academic work, a treatise that offers new insight as the result of structured research.
In other words, a thesis is investigated in a dissertation. But often (in South Africa and elsewhere), the word dissertation is used to describe a Master's degree dissertation, while the word thesis is used to describe the Ph.D. dissertation.
On Exactica's pages, thesis = Ph.D. dissertation and dissertation = Master's or Ph.D. dissertation. A 'thesis statement' of course, is a very different kettle of fish, which is discussed in depth in the workshops.
Do you recommend study groups?
I believe that whether or not to join study groups is a personal choice, based on your own assessment of your need for academic or psychological support.
Study groups do offer advantages but, if not properly managed, the disadvantages can easily outweigh the advantages. The workshop and Constructing a Good Dissertation discuss both the pros and the cons, and offer recommendations for the effective utilisation of study groups, should you choose to join or form one.
I see you offer several free services and downloads on your website. Why?
Yes, I like it that way. There really is a need for this type of thing in South Africa. I also want to support the graduates of the Thesis and Dissertation workshops and readers of Constructing a Good Dissertation in any way I can.
And of course, I'm not entirely insensible to the fact that if the website is a valuable resource for Master's and Ph.D. candidates, word about Exactica's other services will spread.