Nailing Your Thesis

Umfang: 2 SWS
Termin(e) & Ort:
Zielgruppe: WF IIS-MA (ab 1. Semester)
WF INF-BA (ab 3. Semester)
WF INF-BA-PR (ab 3. Semester)
WF INF-BA-S (ab 3. Semester)
WF INF-BA-V-SWE (ab 3. Semester)
WF INF-BA-W (ab 3. Semester)
WF INF-DH-PS (ab 3. Semester)
WF INF-DH-SWE (ab 3. Semester)
WF INF-MA (ab 1. Semester)
WF IuK-MA (ab 1. Semester)

General Information

This class teaches you how to perform research. It is held in English and can be taken in one of the three following variants:

  • Variant 1: Lecture + Exercise (2-4 SWS, 5 ECTS)
  • Variant 2: Praktikum (4 SWS, 10 ECTS)
  • Variant 3: Projekt (4 SWS, 10 ECTS)


This class (Vorlesung/Praktikum/Projekt) teaches you how to perform research. According to most Prüfungsordnungen your Bachelor or Master theses have to be scientific work, and this class teaches you how to do it. The class consists of a weekly lecture (2 SWS) with additional work, depending on the variant you choose (see below). The weekly lecture discusses the following topics:

  • What is science? Engineering vs. design science vs. social science
  • Research question, strategy, exploration, hypothesis, validation
  • Exploratory research: Selected research methods
  • Empirical research: Selected research methods
  • The research paper and thesis writing process
  • Publishing; the scientific community

The class language is German or English (decided during the first class Session). The presentation will have to be done in English and the research paper will have to be written in English. The exercises for the research paper involve qualitative and quantitative data analysis; thus, math and programming skills are needed.


Students can participate in the class in three different ways. Common to all three variants is active participation in class. Depending on the variant, you will have to perform a presentation (5 ECTS) or hand-in a written research paper (10 ECTS).

  • Lecture + Exercise. For the 5 ECTS variant, the presentation will comprise the review and scientific analysis of one or two research papers chosen during the first two weeks of class. You will read and report about the paper, analyse the references and related work, and assess the paper from a scientific perspective.
  • Praktikum/Projekt. For the 10 ECTS variants, the class paper will be your written summary of the research work you performed during the semester. It is intended to be as close to a real research paper as possible and will be graded accordingly. How to do your research right is taught as part of the lecture. The weekly exercises (2 SWS) apply what you learned in the lecture part to a particular research topic. The research topics change each semester and are presented in the first class session. Typically, they have to do something with open source and software engineering. Feel free to bring your own research question to class! Students will be given the chance to create a research hypothesis, develop a research strategy, carry out the strategy, and write up the results as a research paper, just like they would do for their Bachelor or Master Thesis. We will provide the data and help with the research process. This is probably your best preparation for a successful Bachelor or Master Thesis. The Open Source Research Group will offer Bachelor or Master Theses that carry forward interesting research results created during the Praktikum or Projekt. This will help you write a more interesting and impactful thesis, in particular if you are interested in scientific work and becoming a researcher.

Grading, if required, will be based on active class participation and the presentation/research paper.


The 5 ECTS variant matches the following modules:

  • Bachelor Informatik: 5 ECTS Module Wahlpflicht
  • Master International Information Systems: 5 ECTS Module Software Engineering II

The 10 ECTS variant matches the following modules:

  • Bachelor Informatik: 10 ECTS Module Praktikum
  • Master Informatik: 10 ECTS Module Projekt
  • Master International Information Systems: 10 ECTS Module Software Engineering II

Other modules are possible too, depending on your particular Studiengang and Prüfungsordnung.

Learning Goals

  • Holistic understanding of computer and information systems research
  • Development of necessary skills in selected qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Holistic understanding and practical competence in writing research papers/theses

Class Materials