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.

Information about formalities concering Bachelor and Master theses can be found on the following pages:

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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