Thesis writing guidelines
In order to get a better understanding, how master’s theses or PhD theses are generally written, you might want to have a look at existing theses. Finished theses can be found in the online catalogue of the university library (Vienna University of Technology) or the search engine for electronic documents of the Austrian library association.
Resources on how to write a master / PhD thesis or scientific paper
Writing a thesis is not the same as writing a scientific paper. In a thesis, you have more space to elaborate your ideas while the content of a scientific paper is much more condensed and focused. However, guidelines on how to write and how to structure content usually apply to both kinds of works. Therefore, I summarize writing resources for both of them within this section.
- German speakers should definitely read the Merkblatt für den Aufbau wissenschaftlicher Arbeiten of Karl M. Göschka.
- How to get a paper accepted at OOPSLA is definitely worth reading, especially the section of Kent Beck, which should help you a lot in getting your paper focused in a clear structure. That part of the paper seems to be have been copied to the web (just in case you don’t have access to the publication).
- I also have some short summary on how to write a scientific (computer science) paper for you. The summary applies with some restrictions also to writing a master’s or PhD thesis. It is therefore also worth reading if you are trying to find out how to write your thesis.
- Please have a look at my writing tips in order to improve your writing and avoid the most typical mistakes.
- You can find some links to useful information on how to write a master’s thesis on the link collection on How to Do Research by Silvia Miksch.
- You might also want to have a look at The Researcher’s Bible. There is also a book on Writing for Computer Science: The Art of effective Communication.
If you (have to?) use Microsoft Word but usually use BibTex for your references, you may be interested in bibtex4word. This allows you to cite BibTex references in Microsoft Word documents using almost any style available for BibTex. The references can even be clickable (cross references by using the “/h” option for the bibtex style, e.g., “alpha/h”), which is quite useful when reading documents. I recommend to use “/hud”, which means that references are clickable and URLs and DOIs are hyperlinks in Word.
Writing in English
If you are writing in English, the following resources might be interesting to you:
- Online dictionary of the Technical University of Munich
- Online dictionary of the Technical University of Chemnitz
- Guide to English Grammar and Writing
Searching scientific publications
- Google Scholar – The Google search engine for scientific publications.
- ACM Portal (Association for Computing Machinery) – search engine for ACM publications.
- IEEE Explore – search engine for papers published by IEEE
- Computer Science Bibliography of the University of Trier
- CiteSeer – a general search engine for scientific publications.
- Österreichische Zentralbibliothek für Physik – the link to INSPEC / INIS is the most appropriate one
- Library of the Vienna University of Technology – also provides some links to further search engines.
While performing your thesis in cooperation with us, you will be developing software. Please follow the respective coding conventions to produce better readable code as you might cooperate with other people or other people will continue to work upon your results.
We also have written a short introduction to using Subversion in case you are working with our source-code repository.
Further resources regarding Java and Enterprise JavaBeans
- A short introduction to the JBoss Application Server and Enterprise JavaBeans.
- Online book: Mastering Enterprise JavaBeans.
- Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) tutorial with downloadable examples.
- JBoss application server implementing the EJB specification.
- NetBeans: a free integrated Java development environment – see also some notes for development.
- Eclipse: another popular free development environment.
Finishing your study
When approaching the the end of your study, familiarize yourself with the guidelines and required documents in time. Relevant sources are:
- Details provided by the deanery – don’t forget that you have to register your thesis at first.
- Thesis title page of the computer science faculty – uses the TU fonts available here.
- Poster templates and guidelines
You have to register your poster here before you can hand in everything.
A short note on the master’s thesis poster
A poster is not a “text document”. It should be appealing and interesting to the viewer and address the major issues of the whole thesis with good and illustrating figures. The poster should especially address the following items:
- Thesis context
- Specific question(s) addressed – the “goal”
- Solution approach(es) and implementation
When you design your poster, please consider that the viewers probably have not much time. You must catch the viewer’s interest in the first few seconds and the core message of your thesis should be understandable in up to about 30 seconds. Only if you succeed with this, the viewer might be interested in reading the details.
You can find examples of previous posters at http://www.informatik.tuwien.ac.at/studium/epilog/epilogarchiv.html – see “PreisträgerInnen und Veranstaltungsfotos” of the epilog events. However, these posters are only examples and the content of your thesis might require its own format or structure.
If you are interested in getting notifications about scientific conferences, workshops, job announcements, etc., you may want to join some of the following research lists (not relevant for undergraduates):
- SEWorld: Software Engineering
- DBWorld: Data Management
- AISWorld: Information Systems
- CABERNET-EVENTS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK: Dependability
- ECOOP: Object-oriented Technology
- FTTC: IEEE TC on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance
- TCOS: IEEE TC on Operating Systems and Application Environments
If you plan to or are already working towards a PhD, the PhD Comics will most probably address your situation quite well.
You may also be interested in the Dilbert Comics.