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The bachelor thesis
Basics of the bachelor thesis
With the bachelor thesis you not only complete the bachelor's degree. In doing so, you prove that you have mastered your field of study and that you can work on a topic independently using scientific methods.
The evaluation of the mostly written work at the end of the degree is included in the overall grade and can influence it by up to 20%. It is therefore extremely important to do your best again here. The prerequisite for the bachelor thesis is proof of a certain number of credit points (CP) that you have acquired through your previous academic achievements.
Parallel to the term bachelor thesis, many German universities are increasingly using the English term bachelor thesis.
Table of Contents
Topic of the bachelor thesis: Those who have the choice are spoiled for choice
Choosing a topic for the bachelor thesis is the first step and should be well thought out. You can proceed as follows to find a topic:
- Think about which seminar or lecture topic you were most interested in during your studies.
- During the first research you should clarify to what extent the topic has already been dealt with and how much literature is available. Is there an interesting question at all that has not yet been adequately researched and dealt with? Is the topic relevant to the subject?
- Develop a specific question: the more concretely this is chosen, the easier it will be for you to work on it later.
- Looking for a supervisor for the bachelor thesis: If you have a lecturer in mind who you remember well from previous courses, introduce him to the topic - ideally with an initial rough outline. The supervisor will be able to give you important tips for the bachelor thesis and advise you while you are writing.
- Create a schedule with a sufficient amount of time. You should plan enough time, especially with regard to the corrections.
If you cannot find a topic, you can also contact a lecturer directly, who will suggest a topic or provide initial impulses. However, many students experience that it is easier for them to work on a topic they have found themselves because they are more likely to be enthusiastic about it.
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Register the bachelor thesis
Once all the necessary credit points have been collected during the course and the topic and supervisor for the bachelor thesis have been determined, you can register the work with the responsible examination office. There are usually fixed dates for this every semester. When registering, you will also find out the exact submission date of the bachelor thesis.
Guidelines and scope of the bachelor thesis
There are no nationwide uniform regulations on the scope and requirements of a bachelor thesis in Germany. It is usually 20 to 60 pages long. Some universities even set the number of words required. Just like the number of pages, the length of the turnaround time also varies. This is usually 2 to 4 months. In special cases, you can also submit an application for an extension to the examination office, for example if you get sick. A medical certificate is required for this.
In addition to the specified number of pages or even words, the bachelor thesis should have a clear structure, a meaningful question and a targeted answer. In doing so, you prove that you are able to deal adequately with scientific source material and that you can produce a text that corresponds to scientific standards in form and content.
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Literature research: the alpha and omega of a good bachelor thesis
Before you can even start writing, you should get an impression of the available literature. The supervisor's literature recommendations are important here. It is best to work your way through the relevant specialist library using the keyword search.
To be effective, first scan the tables of contents to see if the book is suitable or not. Finally, you read the relevant sections in the books that you have found suitable, crosswise and note down important content in bullet points. That makes the later work a lot easier.
Content and structure of the bachelor thesis
Every scientific work is based on good and detailed research and a clear structure. This also applies to the bachelor thesis. Each work basically consists of the following parts:
- cover sheet: This mandatory sheet contains information on the course, university and subject area as well as the title of the thesis. How the cover sheet should look exactly is usually determined by the departments.
- Table of Contents: Here is the structure of the work. The further bachelor thesis consequently follows this scheme. In the text, you have to exactly copy the headings and their sequence specified here.
- introduction: It introduces the research topic and gives an overview of how to proceed. The introduction presents the central question and describes the course of the work.
- Bulk: This is where the main discussion of the topic takes place. You work through the procedure set out in the introduction step by step and thus analyze the work topic. It is important to have a meaningful, logical process that the reader can follow. You always have to underpin the analysis with the literature used.
- Conclusion / conclusion: At the end of the bachelor thesis you summarize the results from the main part and conclude with a conclusion. You can also give an outlook on further research opportunities on the topic.
- Bibliography: Here you enter the literature used. You should sort the bibliography alphabetically and by type of text (e.g. by sources and secondary literature). It is also important that you pay attention to a uniform spelling.
- attachment: In order not to disturb the flow of reading in the main part, add tables, graphics, extensive derivations or computer codes in the appendix.
- Statutory declaration: Finally, you attach an affidavit on a separate page. In it you assure that you have written the bachelor thesis independently and that you have identified all sources used as such. You sign this declaration in the printed version.
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Formal guidelines for a bachelor thesis
Every scientific work follows certain formalities, which are also part of the evaluation criteria. The following points should be noted:
- Insert footnotes correctly
- Quote consistently (maybe you can put a link down here)
- Bibliographically correctly and consistently
- Number pages continuously
- Scientific, precise and clear writing style
- Appropriate language level
- Use technical terms
The specific requirements for formatting can be found in the examination regulations of the respective degree program. However, the following formatting has proven its worth.
- Side margin: 2 cm above and below, 3.5 cm on the left, 2 cm on the right
- Page numbers: centered at the bottom or bottom right. No page number on the cover and page of the table of contents
- Font size and type in the running text: 12 pt Arial or Times New Roman, justified
- Line spacing: 1.5 lines
- Chapter headings: 14 pt bold, then two lines apart
- Sub-chapter headings: 12 pt bold, followed by one line spacing
- Footnote text: 10 pt justified, 1 ‑ line spacing, the footnotes themselves are in superscript
- Personal names can be set in capital letters ("small caps")
- Do not use hyphens for dashes
- Set decimal points for numbers
To quote correctly:
There are various methods of identifying foreign ideas. In some cases, the citation is specified in the study regulations or by the supervisor. It is important that you quote consistently. A common way of handling the information in the footer is as follows:
- One author: Author's name (year of publication: number of pages), e.g. Müller (2008: 30)
- Two authors: author name / author name (year of publication: page number), e.g. Müller / Meyer (2009: 45)
- If there are more than two authors: author name et al. (Year of publication: number of pages), e.g. Bäcker et al. (2010: 12)
With a direct quotation you put the quoted part in quotation marks, while you put an indirect quotation in the footnote with a "cf." for "compare". You indent direct quotations that take up more than three lines and use a one-line spacing with font size 10.
Before submitting the bachelor thesis
Before submitting your bachelor thesis, you should have two to three people proofread your thesis. In doing so, they must check whether
- Spelling, grammar, formatting, etc. are correct.
- the content is correct and follows a common thread.
You should plan at least a week for the entire correction process - the more time there is, the less pressure the correctors are under. In addition to friends, fellow students and relatives, you can also ask a professional proofreading service such as SCRiBBR.de to proofread your bachelor thesis.
Other providers such as freiberufler-portal.de, nebensatz.com or Einfachbesserenoten.de can also be found on the Internet. There are different options here. On the one hand, experienced students offer this service, on the other hand, you can also have the bachelor thesis checked by a special agency or an association. However, the costs are different. You may also carry out a plagiarism check.
After the correction, the work is almost done. All you have to do now is have it printed and bound and, depending on the field of study, hand in two to three printed and bound copies to the examination office. Often you also have to submit the work digitally on CD or USB stick.
The grading of the bachelor thesis
The following criteria are important for the evaluation:
- Did you ask the question precisely?
- Does the work meet the requirements of a bachelor thesis in terms of scope and content?
- Has the question been dealt with thoroughly?
- Have you highlighted all the important aspects?
- Is the argumentation conclusive and understandable?
- Does the work answer the question? Are the results clearly formulated and consistent?
- Does the bachelor thesis meet the formal requirements?
- Are the sources given?
- Is the work structured convincingly?
- Are the arguments clearly and precisely formulated?
- Was the work done independently?
A bachelor thesis is always graded by two examiners. In addition to the examiner who oversaw the creation process, there is also a second corrector who also awards a grade. The arithmetic mean of these two grades ultimately results in the final grade of the bachelor thesis. However, if the difference between the two suggested grades is more than a full grade, a third reviewer will be commissioned.
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