Scientific work: explained step by step


Writing a thesis is an essential part of studying and wants to be learned. With our instructions, you pack it!

As in the first dance class, you have to proceed step by step while writing a scientific paper. Because your work does not just consist of the pile of paper that you give up at the end. Once you have finished this stack, the following phases of scientific work are behind you:

  • You can capture a problem area
  • You can search literature for your question
  • You can understand the literature for your problem
  • You can structure a topic
  • You can do an empirical survey on your topic
  • You can implement the question linguistically and formally prepare it in your scientific work.

That was all too fast for you? Here comes a detailed step-by-step guide. Incidentally, it does not matter whether the scientific work is a term paper, a term paper or a bachelor thesis or master thesis!

Step 1: Determine the question of the scientific work

Where is the core of the poodle? This question leads you to the beginning. Still open for ideas, but you already purposefully do brainstorming and consult search engines on the Internet. Unless the topic for your thesis is> online search engine comparison, it’s the only time you go to Google & Co. as your work progresses.

For example, Docear is a free software that lets you create mind maps. Anyway, you should write everything down like an old man. If the ideas just so in the head, they tumble out quickly. In addition, the written form helps you to find a common thread, which you should consistently follow when writing down later. It’s better to narrow your subject than to keep it open. If you go deep into your field of expertise, there will be enough material for the work. It is also helpful to identify with the professor what your topic is. And above all: what not!

Step 2: Collect and evaluate data

Welcome to the secret bulk of any scientific work! Most of the time should and may cost this step. Reading may sound banal, but with scientific texts it is correct work and should therefore be taken seriously as such.

Academic work in terms of reading means to research the context, to look up concepts and to excerpt. If you create a personal list of abbreviations, you can also write in lectures faster and still trust your own documents for years. Literature databases can be downloaded as software. They help to sort your text corpus. While reading, you can already create the bibliography. Especially at the beginning of the work, it is worthwhile to follow the what-I-have-it-me-principle, especially since you will have returned to the delivery of scientific work, the books often back and information such as the edition used in retrospect difficult to find out are. Writing the bibliography at the end would be a big mistake.

When excercising, it is advisable to always create the strict red thread that you created right at the beginning. So you avoid losing yourself in the reading and coming to the millennium from the hundredth. Also important: If your work requires its own empirical survey, this step comes now. At the end, you have to sort out the information nuts that you have collected, like a squirrel, so that you can feed yourself without much trouble the hard writing winter long!

Step 3: cover page and layout specifications

Before the fear grabs you against the white sheet, just start with the cover sheet. That’s part of it, too. If you continue with the table of contents or the outline, do not forget that the bibliography, the affidavit and, if necessary, the acknowledgment and a CV are also part of a scientific work.

With the layout specifications you are – if available – according to the guidelines of your professor or the institute. Basically, a scientific paper in Times New Roman or Arial is written, font size is 12 pt, the line spacing one and a half times. Arial is a bit bigger, Times is more comfortable to read because it’s a serif font.

In the way of citation, there are various possibilities. If you do not have citation guidelines, choose the method that is standard in your subject or the one your professor uses. You can look it up in a publication of him or her. All sources used, ie quoted books, journal articles, contributions to editorial works (these are dictionaries and the like), research reports, congress and conference contributions, Internet resources, doctoral theses and unpublished theses must be performed correctly and in a uniform manner. Most universities offer courses in which you learn how to use word processing programs. It pays to work with styles right from the start.

Step 4: Structure of the scientific work

The literature has been evaluated and a document created? Then it can go! The work is at least in your head and arranged on a smudge paper. This is important to get you back to the real issue when you make a mistake. You can start somewhere. It’s best to start with the part of the job that’s easiest for you. In the end you can put all parts in the right order. To ensure the rigor of your work, you can briefly summarize what you want to write before each chapter. These abstracts may later become the basis for your introduction. This is written only at the end.

Especially with longer scientific texts such as theses and doctoral theses, you have to announce in the introduction what you want to point out, formulate a core question or core thesis that you would like to answer with your scientific work. So that you really arrive where you want to go, you only make that certainty at the end. Underpin your arguments with citations, make sure they do not make the argument. Quoted text passages are never alone, are paraphrased in your text and you explain why they are there.

Summaries of already created chapters help you to validate your reasoning. You can reuse them for the final chapter at the end. All of this is best stored in a separate document that also contains discarded sentences and paragraphs from which you can not separate. In creative hanging phases, you can look inside, be inspired and decide what else you need.

Step 5: Final Correction

The final correction is made in terms of content, language and formal characteristics. For a first substantive and linguistic correction you can use unproductive phases in the writing process. The Duden website, for example, offers a spelling correction.

The final correction clarifies the following questions:

  • Can the reasoning chain be traced in the text?
  • Has the claim been honored?
  • Are all citations marked and labeled?
  • Are the transitions to the following chapters logical?
  • Pay attention to word repetitions and filler words.
  • Is the layout still as it should be at every point?
  • Was hyphenation performed correctly?
  • Are all references to chapter and page numbers correct?
  • Have not any footnotes or table hints slipped to the next page?

Especially for graduation and doctoral theses you should give your text to a professional proofreader or editor. Of course you pay attention to the paper quality and let the work bind professionally. And very important: Plan enough time buffer! Normally, your work should be printed and bound within one business day. Nevertheless, a time buffer of at least three days can save your nerves considerably.