The concrete structure of a thesis may vary drastically depending on the choice of topic. However, the following basic elements build a common frame:
- Introduction: What is the problem? Why is it a problem? How does it refer to other works? What is not a problem? What is not solved with this work?
- Theoretical state: Comparable papers (scientific literature)
- Chosen problem-solving approach, consideration of alternatives
- Description if difficulties and how they were solved or avoided
- Documentation of the process/implementation and the developed artefacts
- Evaluation (e.g. small field research) / Results (What did I find out?)
- The thesis should be well-structured. Do not repeat yourself but use lists and cross references to make the information easily detectable.
- There should be a summary (of 0.5 – 1 pages) between the front page and the content list.
- Every assertion has to be proven (by a reference, a thorough argument or your own empirical data).
- Language: Use clear and easily understandable language. Master theses are generally written in English.
- Define important terms!
- Insert helpful and appropriate references. Therefore, you need to have thorough knowledge of the relevant scientific literature.
- If you need to include huge masses of information (that are tiring to read) add them to the appendix.
Theses that include programming should feature a process-oriented focus. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the following points:
- Introduction: short description of the chosen method / problem-solving approach
- Description if difficulties and how they were solved or avoided (or why not)
- Results (What did I find out?)
The longer the better is NOT true for theses. On the contrary, shorter often proves to be better: Mention the essential concisely; leave out the non-essential. The examination regulations prescribe a length of up to 80 pages (24 000 words) for a Master’s thesis (§5(4) of the examination regulations 2012).