During our academic studies we are given to make something unique to explore our expertise in our subject. So today I am going to compare project, thesis and research paper. Project is a type of practical thing. Like in the last semester of your studies you have to make a project. If you are IT student then you can make a software, website or database program which you can call it as project. You have to also submit documentation of some code used in the project and describe different parts of project and how you achieve to make it.
Thesis is like you are doing investigation of some topic or may be more than one topic. You have to explore other research papers or theories that other people have already written and get your own knowledge of what you get and how you can present it. On the other hand research paper is to do something new. You have to investigate others theories and make some flaws or make some new ideas. So thesis is just to increase your knowledge and research paper is to get new idea with prove.
Research paper should be related to practical examples, I mean to say it should also work practically. While thesis may or may not be practically exists. Research paper takes more time to do and its hard work. In master studies most of universities give student a choice of selecting a project or a thesis. It depends upon a student whether he has knowledge of computer language and can build a great software or he can also take thesis.
In phd studies students have to do some research and it is not easy. I have seen many students whose thesis are rejected many times. So it is not so easy to make thesis. You have to work hard to present your thesis and defend against your knowledge.