Bachelor's- and Master's Theses
Below, the process of developing a bachelor's or a master's thesis is described consisting of four consecutive steps. While the following information applies to both, Bachelor's- and Masterstheses, the level of expectations in terms of rigor and efforts will be higher in terms of the latter.
First Step: Identify Topics and Potential Supervisors
We expect our students to show interest in their suggested topics which need to fit the Institute's current research and teaching areas. Therefore, the first step is to identify the topic. Potential supervisors can be found when browsing through our online resources (FIDES, staff homepages) or by contacting staff who are teaching related subjects. Once you have identified a potential supervisor, you may apply by email or by arranging an appointment. The topic in itself is, however, not sufficient. It is recommended to also think about an associated research problem based on personal research interests and possible research questions, which should be tackled by the thesis.
Second Step: Develop the Proposal
Once the candidate and the supervisor have agreed on a broad topic, the candidate needs to develop a thesis proposal. In most cases, a two-step approach is recommended, which includes a short initial proposal (one page) to be used for further feedback to complete an effective full research proposal (about 3-5 pages). This proposal is the baseline agreement for the thesis. However, it is not set in stone and can still be changed (e.g. regarding aims or methods) subject to approval by the supervisor.
The full proposal typically includes:
A working title,
research questions and objectives,
main work packages,
milestones and related risks, and
around 3-5 high quality references.
A systematic literature review (depending on the amount of other research work, e.g. a survey or case studies) is usually a constituent piece of a master's thesis through which research gaps should be identified. Especially for a bachelor's thesis, a systematic literature review can be sufficient, fieldwork to gather primary data is not mandatory.
Third Step: Develop the Thesis
Once the full research proposal is approved by your supervisor, independent research work is expected. All further interactions with the supervisor are non-mandatory. It is, however, strongly suggested to include certain milestones in the proposal, which are likely to need further discussion and reflection with the supervisor. Empirical fieldwork needs to be approved in any case once the instruments are finalized.
Your thesis must include an introduction section, again covering the research problem, research questions and objectives, and the methodology in three sub-sections. These sub-sections are derived from your research proposal, but expanded, revised and improved. A research background section may follow after the introduction. The discussion section in the backend of your thesis is of particular importance. Do not forget to link and discuss your results from the perspective of what we already know (prior literature). Also think of limitations and a brief conclusion. For a master's thesis, the methodology desription is more extensive and could also be placed into a middle section.
Fourth Step: Submit the Thesis
It is expected to submit a final draft version of your thesis electronically (by Email) to your supervisor to receive final feedback and approval for uploading your thesis via Learn@WU, where it is also checked for plagiarism. The final draft version should be free of errors and careful proofreading is highly recommended before submitting the final draft. In addition, you may be asked to present and defend your findings.
Once your Master's thesis is formally graded (!), one hardcopy version must be submitted to the WU library. The Institute for Information Management and Control does not require a hardcopy version. For a Bachelor's thesis no hardcopy version is required.
While the Master's thesis can only be written in English, the Bachelor's thesis may also be written in German after consulting your supervisor.
WU Leitfaden zum Verfassen von Bachelorarbeiten
Here you can also find the guidelines of the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management:
Guidelines of the Department
Here you can also find the guidelines of the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management.