Outline Bachelor Thesis – 5 Tips for Scientific Texts
“Then come back to me with the finished outline, and then you can start!”. For example, Profs like to dismiss their students after their first meeting for a bachelor or homework assignment. The topic is staked out, the Prof finds it “totally exciting” and an outline can be shaken out of your sleeve.
It’s not that easy.
An outline is not only the table of contents for your work later, but also your work instructions, your red thread and a short synopsis for the entire text. If you do it right, you can write down your work in a few days. To put a little time and brain-lint into the structure makes extremely sense. There are even people who use this method to write whole dissertations in two weeks without having a plan of the matter.
So: make coffee, music and off you go!
Your topic is roughly outlined and you have already familiarized yourself with the existing literature. You know where the books are for your topic and have discussed with your Prof, how long the work should be.
To get a first outline, you do not have to know everything about your topic. But it is important to know the key aspects necessary to tell your story!
1. Outline Bachelor Thesis: Tell a story!
Think of your home or bachelor thesis as a story! Which points definitely go down in history so readers will understand them? What information do readers need to make everything clear?
Now you have a first idea where the journey is going and can name first waypoints on your work process.
2. The first outline is not the last!
You will change your outline while writing! Try not to depend on your first outline. The content structure of your work can be thrown around again by new ideas, research results or new prioritization and that’s no problem! A good structure develops!
Now you’re thinking, “Great, but I need to know what’s coming out in the end!”
Yes and no.
In fact, every research process (and your housework is that) is open-ended. At the beginning, you think about a working hypothesis that you can either confirm or revise. Often there is a misunderstanding among students that only a confirmed hypothesis is a good hypothesis.
No one demands that you know at the beginning of your work what comes out in the end. Only that you think of a meaningful question that you are going to the bottom of. Whatever it looks like.
3. The classic outline is your backstage area
There are millions of sample layout templates on the Internet. The problem with patterns is obvious: Everyone uses them! Of course, you do not need to reinvent the wheel, and with your outline, you’re already flashing your Prof so that he does not have to read the work anymore. But a little creativity certainly helps, and yet the outline is the first thing the reader sees about your work!
The classical structure looks like this (or something similar):
1) Introduction (10%)
2) main part (80%)
3) Conclusion / outlook (10%)
Not very exciting, right?
But this three-step serves only as a “meta-level”, so as a superstructure for your structure.
Point 1 is actually always reserved for the introduction. Here you will find information about your question, the structure of your work and why you are dealing with the topic. Here you should answer why your research question is relevant for your subject at all. Why should your professor be interested in your text?
The main part
Point 2 takes up most of the work and probably causes the biggest abdominal pain. He is not that hard at all.
Many students believe that they already have to incorporate a lot of their own insights and thoughts here and are afraid to dwell on sources properly. “It seems as if I had just copied sentences from other books and did not do anything of my own.” Sometimes you listen privately. But that’s exactly what scientific work is all about. We studs are not really scientists yet. We are apprentices. Our flashes of inspiration are not yet recognized in the scientific world. That’s why we use the flashes of old-established scientists and supplement them with our own research design. So in the main part we only describe what we did and why we did it. And the “why” we verargumetet with clever sentences, the other scientists have said before us and their opinions we share. And of course to prove that this is not up to our crap, but that we have learned something so clever from someone, we cite these clever people of course as often as we can, stating the source. If need be, behind every single sentence. In fact, science is all about transparency.
Point 3 or the last chapter is also always a summary of your work. There should be no new information here, so nothing that you have not mentioned before in any other chapter! Summarize your results logically and come to a conclusion. This may well be the realization that reliable results could be achieved with the applied research design or that more new questions than answers came to light. If so, phrase these as possible follow-up questions for your topic. See the big picture. The conclusion needs time! Sometimes it helps to get a little distance to your own work. Sleep one to two nights over it. Then read your work through again completely. Follow your own chain of reasoning, which you have gradually built up.
Now you know what content belongs to where. I’ll tell you how to make the contents visible at a glance with your outline.
4. Your table of contents is your stage
With the classic outline consisting of introduction, main and final part in the head, you are now building your show for the stage. Convince your audience. Keep quiet for a while.
A good outline can already be seen in the chapter headings, where the hare runs long. That’s why creativity is definitely in demand here, because “XY in its historical development” is often necessary in terms of content, but does not really catch the reader.
Make decisions about what really matters to the story you want to tell.
In another post I already told you that it can be useful to keep asking yourself the question “What do I actually want to show / say / explain?”. Also, when choosing your chapters, you should do that to counteract the danger of getting bogged down a bit.
Whether your outline has four or twelve chapters is not really relevant. It is important that all chapters are meaningful and describe a central point on your red thread.
Some creative headlines grab attention but do not overdo it.
“XY before and today – an overview” sounds pleasant and says specifically what the chapter is about.
To make things as easy as possible, there is a simple trick: think of a working title that expresses as much as possible what you are actually investigating. So it makes sense to formulate your research question in order to develop a title from it. Then take that title apart and define each important catchphrase as a separate subchapter of the theory part, so you can move from chapter to chapter in the research and not have to deal with the whole mountain at once.
The importance of reconciling study and child as part of higher education marketing –
An inventory of the web communication of German universities.
(Source: Luisa’s Bachelor thesis)
1 Compatibility of study and child as part of university marketing (introduction)
1.1 Starting situation and problem definition
1.2 Delineation of the topic
1.3 Structure of the work
2 Conceptual and theoretical basics (main part theory)
2.1 Marketing in higher education
2.1.1 Definition and limitation of the term university
2.1.2 Derivation and definition of the term university marketing
2.1.3 Instruments of higher education marketing
2.2 The university website as a marketing tool
2.3 The target group: students with children
3 Investigation of Web Communication of Higher Education Institutions (Major Research Design)
3.1 Selection of universities
3.2 Criteria for the investigation
4 Website Survey Results (Body Research Results)
4.1 Range of services
4.2 Findability of the offer
4.3 Bundling of information
4.4 Quality of information processing
4.5 Timeliness of information
4.7 Target group
4.8 Communication strategy
4.9 Information vs. marketing
4.10 Summary of the test results
5 recommendations for target group-oriented web communication (main or final part)
6 conclusion (conclusion)
Download outline as a Word template
Of course, your outline of your scientific work will look very different, with more or fewer chapters and sections. The proportions can be different. depending on how complex your own research and theory component is. Your topic and degree course are also quite different. But so you have an idea of how to strategically approach such an outline. Also look at the article on the term paper (Scientific writing made easy)!
5. Talk about it!
And not only with your Prof! He already knows what you basically want to tell. Go quietly during the writing process once or twice to ensure that you are on the right track, but friends and classmates can also be helpful. Explain what you want to tell and show them your structure. Is it easy for you to explain your main topic? Does your audience understand what you’re after? It often becomes clear in the conversation where, although you argue linearly in your head, there is a logical gap on paper.
You see, I’m not giving you a preformulated outline here. I can not do that, because every work is an individual expression of your creativity.
But if you stick to the 5 rules, you will avoid many problems that I have already faced.