Tips for scientific work

The good news: Scientific work is not rocket science, and the more practice you get in it, the easier it will be for you. With every new home or seminar work, you take the work of course as a matter of course.

To help you get started – and of course to help with later scientific work – we have put together some basic tips for you. These remind you once again of the most important points and can also serve as a kind of checklist, if you have thought of everything.

Choose the correct method

In order to do scientific work properly, you have to choose the right method. It is about a fundamental choice between qualitative or quantitative research, but also about meaningful data and results that can be used. So you should not build your work on a survey of 15 participants.

Work step by step

If you do a lot at once, you will not get faster, but only make more mistakes. Better go through one step at a time and avoid multitasking as much as you can. It will not do you any good if you already create an outline and write first sections while you are still busy with the research. Presumably, you only do duplicate work, because further points must be included in the structure or the further research leads to the fact that already written text must be revised.

Plan in detail

Before bachelor and master theses, most students naturally create a plan – a procedure that is also useful for student projects. Of course, this planning can not and must not be the icing on the cake, but the different work phases and the structure of the work should be established. Above all, you should plan sufficient time buffers so that you do not run out of time if something does not go according to plan.

Set goals

The goal of a scientific work is clear – one should think so. However, this is often not the case, because there are several possible objectives:

The construction of theories and hypotheses based on existing material.

The verification or falsification, for example, by empirical investigations and the analysis of existing technical literature, of certain theories.

Reviewing existing theories and findings for their practical benefits.

Depending on which of the three objectives applies, the structure of the scientific work must be adapted.

Document results

The results of each work step must be completely documented and archived. As a student, this is above all in your own interest, because only then are you able, at the end of the work, to understand certain thoughts and considerations from the beginning of the process. Then it will be easy for you to explain your work and procedure in the text.

Maintain archive

Both sensible documentation and medium- and long-term archiving require a fixed system. You must have already created and tested this before starting the work process. Because during the actual research and writing process you should not have to worry about the technical implementation anymore.

Use tools

What applies to your system, should continue with the tools used. Ideally, you have thoroughly tested all the programs and devices before they are used in a productive environment – for example, in lectures and during the preparation of papers and transfer tasks – and master the handling of them without any problems.

Insert templates

Regardless of the word processing program used, it is important to create your scientific texts using stylesheets. These facilitate the implementation of all formal requirements and save you a lot of time and effort in the course of a work.

Verify the level of knowledge

Quotation rules and guidelines for the standards of scientific work are constantly being revised. Students should keep up to date in this area and follow the latest developments. Most colleges publish relevant information in the eLearning system or intranet that students usually have access to. Use this information source.

Specify sources

The golden rule of any scientific work: The sources of a work must be easily findable. In order to ensure traceable sources, various citation styles have been developed over time. Often, educational institutions allow students to choose between several styles. Then: Decide on a style and implement it consistently. Also, make sure to include in the bibliography all sources and books that you have used to create your scholarly work.

In addition, we recommend that you consult with the responsible professor or lecturer in advance of a scientific work and look at the individual rules and requirements of the chair, especially when it comes to quotation rules or formal guidelines.