Writing scientific papers, while requiring some experience, is a good thing to do as a beginner, step by step. In my opinion, when creating a scientific paper, i. a bachelor thesis or a homework, some essential steps that are performed at each work.
- topics containment
- Search for the supervisors or examiners
- topic selection
- Formulation of the research question
- Creation of an expose
- Copywriting possibly including empirical research
In the following, I introduce you to the individual steps for scientific work or writing:
First of all, it’s about finding a direction out of the abundance of possible topics in which you want to go with your work and thus narrow down the topic. Personally, I think it is worthwhile to write in a topic and subject area that interests you and where you can imagine your future career. This increases the motivation for the work in two ways, through the interest and the future perspective. In addition, in later interviews you may be able to score points with the topic and lessons learned in the thesis.
In addition, I hear again and again that students choose the topic according to which subject or seminar the professor has left a positive impression or which professor or lecturer they can win as first and second examiner. These often have their own interests and research priorities, which may differ significantly from the students’ desired topics.
None of the approaches or reasons is better or worse, but may affect the topic, motivation, and future use of a thesis.
For homework, the limitation of the topic is usually not so significant, as they are at least subject or seminar-related and the examiner is usually given.
Search for the supervisors or examiners
Regardless of whether you make the topic limitation in your own interest or in the field of your examiner, you should have staked the topic about the first contact with your desired examiner and explain to him what you intend to do. He recognizes that you have prepared yourself, which in turn suggests that the work, the topic and the care are important to you. I strongly believe that good preparation and a coherent presentation of your project will bring benefits as well as a better chance of commitment and a positive rating.
Whether the personal address or contact by e-mail is better, is also dependent on the lecturer. While you can ignore, move or forget e-mails without wanting to accuse someone of something negative, this is not so easy with a personal counterpart. If your wish inspector offers a regular consultation or consultation hour, you should use these and punctually and well prepared to audition with him.
It also does not hurt to think about a few reasons why you have just decided on him. Answers like being well-rated or liking him in the lecture will probably convince him less than recommendations from fellow students, the closeness of your topic to his area of research, and your desire to benefit from his knowledge and experience. In this sense, the search for an examiner for your thesis is also comparable to a job interview. This may not be true for every examiner and every university, but for the good guys in any case.
Once you have found a validator, the consolidation of the topic begins. In this step, almost everything is possible in relation to the topic. From complete agreement to the desired topic of a student to a complete change after the commitment, anything can happen. I am always amazed by feedback such as: “Your topic is very interesting. Maybe you can still consider the aspects X, Y and Z …. We could also focus on … “and before you know it, there is not much left of the original topic.
Both scenarios can have their advantages and disadvantages. Do you have a more relaxed examiner, you usually have a maximum of freedom in writing and developing your ideas. However, the less (critical) feedback you get, the greater the uncertainty as to whether you have actually written what your auditor imagines or what is part of the topic from his point of view. If the feedback is low or always positive, there is also the risk that the (actual) feedback received in the actual evaluation comes from the (to-day) lack of feedback. However, in order not to create more uncertainty than is already associated with a homework or thesis, it should be added that this is a potential risk. There are also examiners and lecturers who are actually so relaxed and trust their protégés without finally knocking them into the so-called ‘pan’.
At the end of this phase, you have agreed with your examiner on a topic or the exact formulation of the topic and the focus of your work.
Formulation of the research question or objective
These steps can be done together with the topic finding, but also only after the formulation of the exact topic. Basically, however, regardless of whether you write a theoretical or empirical work or a home, seminar or bachelor thesis, it is always associated with a research process. For this reason it is necessary to formulate a research question or a goal in connection with the chosen topic.
Creation of the expose
The synopsis is a helpful tool for the overall planning of your thesis. It consists of the problem, research question or objective, the description of the research project, the structure and the first planned literature. Examiners and supervisors often ask for a synopsis before or at least shortly after a caring commitment, as it gives them a comprehensive impression on approx. 6 to 8 pages about:
- how well and intensively you have dealt with your desired project
- Whether your research project is concrete and well-founded
- how appropriate your chosen methods and instruments are and
- where necessary, there is still room for improvement.
The synopsis is also a kind of milestone planning for you in which you describe the initial situation, the objective and the way to it, as well as the instruments and techniques to be used.
Copywriting and empirical research
On the basis of the exposé, it will be easier for you to fill the individual outline points with content step by step, to carry out empirical research, for example by interviewing or conducting expert interviews. When creating the texts, take into account that the respective explanations in this chapter are relevant and meaningfully placed. Above all, the goal is always to answer the research question at one end. It is important that you work through the individual chapters one by one, starting with the introduction, followed by the theoretical basics, focusing on the work, until answering the research question and the final conclusion. At the end of this phase, the work is content.
Once the content has been created, it’s time to finish, the so-called fine-tuning, of your work. That can be really time consuming again. I count the design of the layout, the creation of all directories, the checking of the footnotes, proofreading, printing and binding. You should also be very precise in this work. It would be a pity if you deliver top-quality work in terms of content and methodology, but get a worse rating due to spelling errors, an insufficient / incomplete bibliography or a reader-friendly layout.
It is important to find an end. This is usually sealed by the deadline. But even if you still have time and have completed all theses carefully, it is important to put an end to it. Writing a thesis, especially if it is a bachelor’s or master’s thesis, is not only time consuming. You also put in a lot of energy and that can actually make you sleep. To find an end also means to complete the work with your thoughts.
Scientific work is not hard to create if you follow the basic scheme. If you want to create your own scientific work, you can set the frame and orientate yourself with this scheme.