Computer Science IX
Human-Computer Interaction — Computer Science IX — University of Würzburg

How to Write a Scientific Thesis/Report

These pages provide general information about how to author a scientifc thesis/report and the accompanying supervision process at the chair for HCI. You are always requested to cross-check your respective official documents (FSB, ASPO) for details. In case of doubts ask your supervisor. Comments are welcome.

Literature Research


  • A central source for required literature is the university library.
  • Many scientific organizations provide digital libraries, e.g.:
  • Costs
    • Most services let you research for free.
    • Content might be available for free from the library or inside the JMU VPN net.
  • Meta services like, e.g., Google scholar index multiple sources.
  • To find relevant articles starting from a matching article look out for
    • the literature this article cites or
    • functions of the search engine like "cited by".
  • Beware of filter bubbles. Always search alternative communities to open new result branches.
  • There are controversial discussions regarding open access movements, including endeavors of the European Commission, and lawsuits against Sci-Hub, just to name a view.


How to value a scientific article or conference is an ongoing discussion. Here are some indications:

  • Number of citations a publications has received so far.
  • Metrics (beware, all are questionable), e.g.,:
    • the H-Index/I-Index (available for authors, conferences, journals)
    • Impact Factor (only journals)
  • Impact and relevance is specific to scientific field, e.g.:


  • The institute of computer science provides several services for organizing digital workflows, see this wiki.
    • Use GitLab for repositories of your code and your thesis.
    • Use OwnCloud for binaries.
  • Manage literature (sort, annotate, save ...) using dedicated tools, e.g.:
    • Mendeley (good annotation and highlighting)
    • Zotero
    • BibDesk
    • Citavi
  • Use of LaTeX for scientific writing is advised. Good editors are
    • Atom (with plugins, all OS)
    • TeXnicCenter (Windows)
    • TeXShop (OSX)
    • Editors with LaTeX support (emacs, vi(m), textmate, ...)

Interesting Links

Style Conventions

  • American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication manual of the American psychological association. Washington: American Psychological Association. (extracts can be found online)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie (DGPs). (2007). Richtlinien zur Manuskriptgestaltung. Hogrefe. (Adaption of the APA guidelines to the german language)

General Literature

  • Bern, D. J. (1987). Writing the Empirical Journal Article. The complete academic: A practical guide for the beginning social scientist, page 171.
  • Field, A. (2012). Writing Up Research.
  • Field, A. and Hole, G. (2002). How to Design and Report Experiments. Sage.
  • Hofmann, A. H. (2014). Scientific Writing and Communication. Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Schlager, P. and Thibud, M. (2007). Wissenschaftlich mit LaTeX arbeiten. Pearson Studium.
  • Wallwork, A. (2011). English for Writing Research Papers. Springer US, Boston, MA.
  • Zobel, J. (2004). Writing for Computer Science. Taylor & Francis. (accessible via Springerlink)

Style Guides of Colleagues in Academia

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