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Thesis Writing Guide

Shall you have made a decision to write a thesis at our chair, this reliable guide will walk you through the process of choosing a topic, applying for, writing and defending the thesis. Please read it closely!

Simply click on the step you want to know more about to see the content. 


Step 1. Let's meet each other's interests!

A) Before approaching members of the chair, think about your research interests and the research methods you can and would like to apply. We recommend students who plan to write a thesis with us to attend at least two courses offered by the chair e.g. Social Media Research and one of the research seminars. 

B) Then, have a look at the list of the open thesis-topics. There, you will find not only the topics' names but also their short description and information about a contact person (your potential supervisor).  After identifying the topic or topics that are most attractive for you, (1) make yourself familiar with the methods suggested by the topic; (2) think of the methods you are able/ would like to employ (qualitative vs. quantitative) as well as disposable resources (access to certain data). Afterward, contact the respective supervisor via email and make an appointment.

C) Please note that offered topics are not necessarily future titles – you will finalize the title with help of your supervisor in the work process. Also, keep in mind that within a topic there is always a room to accommodate your specific interests and preferences.


Step 2. Official topic assignment

A) Fill in and sign the Topic Assignment Form / Themenvergabe für die Abschlussarbeit. Leave the field “Datum der Themenvergabe” empty and bring the form to your supervisor. He or she will get the remaining signatures of the first (Prof.Dr. Hanna Krasnova) and the second reviewers (a research associate at the Chair), fill in the date-field and send the form to the examination office. 

The form is identical for master and bachelor students. You can download it here or pick up from the display outside the Examination Office.

B) After the official registration, you will have 3 to 6 months depending on your study program to complete the work.


Step 3. writing aid: we have a template for you!

A) We wish to give your master's or bachelor's thesis a consistent, high-quality appearance. Therefore, we ask you to use the template (MAC | WINDOWS) provided by the chair. For your convenience, the document already contains the formatting. So, you don’t have to worry about it while writing.


Step 4. Thesis Submission

A) You must submit three printed and bound copies of your final thesis by the submission deadline to the Examination Office (during office hours, in the University’s mailing center or by regular mail – it must be postmarked by the deadline). In addition, please also submit an electronic version of your final thesis (e.g. on a CD) as an MS Word or PDF file. If your thesis is not written in German, your thesis must include an abstract in German. Please note that each copy of your thesis must include a personally signed statement on the originality of your work. 

B) Please see the applicable Course or Examination Regulations for further information (e.g. group work) on the submission of your final thesis.


Step 5. Defence-presentation

A) At the University of Potsdam, it is obligatory for master students to defend their thesis. If you are at the stage of proofreading the advanced version of your thesis, it is high time to contact your supervisor to set a day and exact time for the defense. The defense-presentation will take place during one of the research colloquiums organized by the chair after you have submitted your thesis.

B) While creating slides, keep in mind that you are working on an academic presentation which implies certain rules regarding style. At the same time, we deliberately do not provide a template, so that you have a chance to express your own style (choose your favorite or your own theme for slides). In case you need some inspiration, below, we have gathered some useful sources.

Video "Mit diesen 7 Tipps wird deine Präsentation perfekt" (German)

Video "How to avoid death by PowerPoint" (English)

Video "7 presentation skills and tips to leave an impression" (English)

Blog-post "Presentation tips for data professionals" (English)

С) Your presentation should last 15 minutes. Afterward, there will be a short scientific discussion. Get ready to answer questions related to your research. If necessary, prepare some back-up slides. 

D) The presentation will be graded, and this grade will account for certain percent of the final grade for your thesis. The exact percentage depends on your study program. For these details, please contact the Examination Office.