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Dr. Anna Kreikemeyer Dr.

. Patricia Schneider Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH) Beim Schlump 83, 20144 Hamburg, Germany Tel.: 040 866077 -67 (AK) / -20 (PS) E-Mail: / Homepage:

How Do I Successfully Write a Masters Thesis? A practical guide for peace- and conflictresearchers and other social scientists

October 2007 (english Version) (2., revised edition, January 2008)

For Consultation (also Workshops): ACADEMIC COACHING Dr. Anna Kreikemeyer, Tel. 040-39904180, E-Mail: Recommended Literature (including stages of the writing process and crisis management): Stock, Steffen; Schneider, Patricia; Peper, Elisabeth; Molitor, Eva (Eds.): Erfolgreich promovieren. Ein Ratgeber von Promovierten fr Promovierende. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg 2006

Table of Contents
Page I. Its Your Thesis an Introduction II. Work Stages 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Thinking Academically Finding a Topic Finding an Advisor Organising Support Time Management Structuring Your Work Time Obtaining Information Structuring Your Material Constructing a Framework Outlining Preliminary Considerations/Drafting a Synopsis Tackling Formal Requirements last, but not least 3 4 4 5 6 6 6 7 7 8 10 11 11 12 13

III. Further Literature IV. Appendices 1. Details on writing a Masters Thesis for the postgraduate programme Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik (M.P.S.) 2. Sample Cover Sheet 3. Sample Table of Contents 4. Sample Citation Formats 5. Sample Bibliography 6. Sample Honor Statement 7. Criteria for the evaluation of work written for the M.P.S. programme

13 15 16 17 20 21 22

I. Its Your Thesis An Introduction

Writing can bring even the best author to her knees a colleague said to me, chuckling, as I morosely told him about my work on a long, scholarly writing project. His words did make me feel briefly better, but this really ordeal should not happen to me someone who advises other social scientists! Another phrase from another colleague was, in connection with such academic writing, rather better for bolstering courage: Practically all students make the same mistake, of beginning their own writing too late. They lose themselves in the flood of literature. Courage, it is true, can be a good companion on the journey to ones own scholarly manuscript. But in the course of our experiences with our own texts, we have discovered three additional, much better escorts: commitment, motivation, and support from colleagues. Whenever we had a personal commitment to the topic we were writing about, we began writing earlier in the morning, worked with more dedication, and sat longer at our desks in the evening. And when, in the process of writing, a good idea suddenly hit us (which they often only do while we are actually writing), the letters practically flew onto the paper. Finally, we have realized just how beneficial conversations or teamwork with colleagues can be, especially in scholarly work and, luckily, academia regards cooperation quite highly! Commitment, motivation, and support from colleagues are hence the things we would like you to take to heart regarding your academic writing. To the degree that these factors work together, writing a scholarly work can sometimes even be fun! In counselling sessions with students planning their theses it struck us that, unfortunately, these qualities were often missing. Commitment is the easiest to achieve. When you have a choice about the topic or central question of your work, ask yourself which topic, which question really interests you what gets you excited. Motivation is more difficult to inspire. It has much to do with self-determination, with knowing and understanding your own character and work habits. It is most important that in every phase of text preparation you consistently dare to trust yourself, for example beginning by simply writing straight out without consulting ten books first. You might be amazed by your own level of knowledge, and besides, secondary literature is not an end in itself. Motivation can also be nurtured if, for any pages you write, you give yourself a reward and them a place of honor on your desk. Furthermore, you are (of course) also responsible for structuring your work day such that something of your own can come out of it and the hours spent at your desk do not become torture. Plan work time and free time, as well as specific highlights that you can look forward to. Support from Colleagues should not be left to chance, but organised. Which colleagues might be happy to make themselves available for discussions on methodological framework, and which willing to read through your text? Who can you call when you need to let off some steam? This guide is deliberately kept short and simple. On the title page we have provided a note on the possibilities for further consultation (and workshops) as well as literature recommendations.

II. Work Stages

1. Thinking Academically Academic reasoning aims for an objectifiable connection with reality (that is, a connection that outsiders can identify and understand). It features planned procedures, distinctive thinking strategies and a specific language style. Academic information and findings are systematically obtained and developed. New insights are balanced against established facts.
Example: When you analyse the causes of inter-ethnic conflict, you will have to consider an array of economic, political, historical, etc., criteria. If you come to the conclusion that transnational actors played a key role in your case study, you must check your findings against the available literature before you make general statements and apply for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Academic reasoning differentiates between author-oriented approaches, in which ones own ideas stand in the foreground and the literature is used for support, and literature-oriented approaches, in which the available scholarly literature takes a primary role and the author remains in the background. You can work deductively using either approach. In other words, you can derive your findings from the (fundamental) theories developed by others or you can conduct research empirically, on the basis of facts you have compiled yourself.
Example: If you hold the view that transnational actors play a key role in inter-ethnic conflict, you could use an author-oriented approach to develop your own theory, supporting your ideas through a case study. You might support your hypothesis with a Theory on the Significance of Transnational Relations in the Age of Globalisation, deductively following the prescriptions of this theory. In comparison, if you have arrived at your hypothesis as a result of your recent research trip to Polynesia then you would want to work inductively on the basis of your empirically-obtained data. However, you can also choose a literature-oriented approach and analytically review all the available works dealing with your thesis.

Political science writing has a number of characteristics in common with that of the other social sciences, namely that every work should:

Define central, and especially new, concepts Systematically, precisely and logically justify assertions Support assertions with appropriately cited quotations and data (i.e., cited according to official guidelines) Clearly make connections between different assertions Eliminate inconsistencies, and Separate personal analysis from factual statements


Look over a scholarly article written by your professor to get an idea of his/her approaches, strategies and language.

2. Finding a Topic Less and less often are todays students given a concrete question as a thesis topic. Instead, students may now choose their own questionssomething much more easily said than done. Choosing your own topic and question is roughly comparable to being sent to the market to do the shopping for a multiple-course meal, without a pre-determined menu. What in the world should you consider while shopping, so that you are not at a total loss that night in front of the stove? When choosing your topic, consider the following steps: 1. What really interests you? What do you want to learn? Do not underestimate this question, because it is you who will have to sit for weeks at your computer, struggling to create something unique.
Example: One of your acquaintances, whom you regard highly, belongs to the Chechnyan diaspora. He has already told you a little about his home. This has awoken your interest in finding out why this conflict is so difficult to solve and why your acquaintance cannot live safely in his homeland.

2. What is your object of investigation: an object, a theory, a text or a problem? And closely related: On which period of time will you base your work?
In terms of the above example, a possible subject of investigation would be the conflict between the pro-secession Autonomous Republic of Chechnya and the Russian Federation. You could thus use the period from 1991, when the first Chechen War broke out, until the year 2005 as your time frame for investigation.

3. Is there any empirical material on which you can base your planned analysis? If not, is there at least enough literature for you to draw on? How wide is the range of available material? Does it suffice as an empirical basis from which you can draw generaliseable conclusions? Is it anywhere near the right size for you to work with in the time given?
In the case of the conflict between the pro-secession Autonomous Republic of Chechnya and the Russian Federation, it will be difficult if not impossible to work with empirical data, as many sources are inaccessible. Nevertheless much has already been written about this conflict, even if one party to the conflict has written far more than the other.

4. Are there already research findings on your topic? Are there any general theories that try to answer the questions relating to your theme?
Political science research on the conflict between the Autonomous Republic of Chechnya and the Russian Federation is still limited. In the theoretical realm, you can draw on not only theories of minority conflict but also more general theories from conflict research, such as those regarding war economies.

5. What would be an appropriate question?

What factors contribute to a perpetuation of conflict? Or How do various sources of conflict combine to perpetuate a conflict?

6. In terms of methodology, will you move forward by means of a selected (existing) theory, or do you have to devise a methodological approach yourself ?
The theory on the development of war economies says, for example, that many actors involved in a conflict have developed an economic interest in the continuation of the conflict. If you elect to use this theory, it would be important to verify and substantiate these interests in the conflict. 5


Work through points 1-6 for your chosen topic.

3. Finding an Advisor If you are free to choose your own advisor, you should make your choice responsibly, knowing clearly what your expectations are. When you do have the opportunity to choose, the following checklist may be useful in your preliminary talks with possible advisors. Even if you are assigned to a specific advisor, this list may help you address critical issues in preparation for your first meeting. Check

Is your advisor competent in your topic field? What expectations does he/she, and what expectations do you, have regarding meetings and contact during your work? Will he/she take enough time to talk to you? Will he/she take an interest in advising you, or does he/she seem overworked? Will he/she generally be available (upon appointment) to talk with you? Will he/she help you obtain information (materials, theories) and develop your methods? Is he/she willing to look over a preliminary draft? What does he/she look for when evaluating a thesis?

4. Organising Support Writing a masters thesis implies, as a rule, a time frame of three to six months or longer. In this time, it will be necessary for you to independently and targetedly concentrate on one concrete topic (the readthink-write game). There will also be little respite from your work. Being alone can sometimes be beneficial, but scholarly work in particular gives rise to the danger of becoming lonely that is, of feeling empty and cut off from the world. To prevent this situation, you should organise specific contact and support, preferably from classmates working on similar tasks. Small work groups can also be helpful in staving off loneliness. Check

Do you have someone with whom you can discuss your topic, question and approach? Do you have someone who will read through and comment on your manuscript (or parts thereof)? Do you have someone to talk to when you are frustrated?

5. Time Management Structuring Your Work Time Slight pressure can be helpful in tackling your work, but a serious time crunch can be destructive. The following checklist may help you keep deadline problems from emerging. Check

Plan your work steps from the due date backwards. Plan realistic work hours that you can stick to! Also schedule free days for recovery. Start writing parts of your text as early as possible. Try to stick to your schedule. Arrange to have a partner who will nicely but firmly remind you of your time schedule. 6

6. Obtaining Information The Google Era has greatly altered methods of obtaining information. On one hand, certain tasks have become quite easy for example, gaining access to documents. On the other, there is an everincreasing risk of losing sight of ones own priorities in the jungle of abundant information. Finally, copy and paste has not done a bit of good for the originality of scholarly analysis. You are responsible for determining the quantity and quality of the information you collect. Check

You yourself already know quite a lot. Make sure you have a clear idea of your own knowledge pool before you dive into the information jungle. Organise it by posing questions to yourself (What do I want? How do I want to proceed? What do I already know? What assets do I already have? How much do I want to know? etc.). Construct your own Info-Map (for example with the Mind Mapping technique) on a blank sheet of paper. Next, write out as much as possible without using literature: central questions, outline, theses, etc.

Next comes a Rough Information Phase: Analyse your topic options according to information fields. Consult articles from the specialist literature which broadly relate to your central ideas, and compare their views with the steps you have made thus far. Which aspects do you want to/ can you use, and which not? Does this information change your heretofore chosen approach? Start compiling a bibliography from the outset (source and literature databanks). Write out as much as possible during this rough stage. A Specific Information Phase follows: Now more exactly define what information you will need for your specific keywords, range of topics, and central questions. Compile a bibliography (from Google, databanks, keyword catalogues, specialised journals, topical books, etc.). Construct a to-do list of sources to look through. Also set limits on the extent of your analysis. Assess the information based on your defined needs. Make sure that your planned approach can be adhered to. Finally you reach the Detailed Information Phase: Specifically define your needs for detailed information (empirical data, documents, interviews, etc.). Locate missing details and integrate them into the texts you already have.

7. Structuring Your Material Now it is time to work with the texts you have gathered. This work primarily includes reducing, summarising and choosing. Therefore it can be helpful to excerpt important texts and make excerpt-like notes of less important ones. A good excerpt should: Check

Have a maximum length of 10% of the whole text Summarize the fundamentals of the text, in your own words and in terms of your own central research questions; Concisely explain the key message of the text; Clarify the central concepts of the text; Quote or paraphrase important passages; Categorise the text into the relevant field of knowledge; Characterise the texts style; 7

Examine your own topic focus in relation to the text; Clearly point out the texts limitations. In preparation for writing your thesis, it can also be helpful to schematically note the references and connections between various texts.

8. Constructing a Framework After completing the above preparatory steps it will be time to, metaphorically speaking, build the scaffolding for your paper. The central components of your scaffolding should include your research interests, questions (including general guiding questions, if existent), goals, research progress, methods, hypotheses, empirical material/case studies, conclusions, and recommendations for policies/actions (if existent). In order to construct a stable scaffolding, you will need to consider the following questions. Check
Research Interests: What about this topic motivates you personally? Here we choose as an example the OSCEs democratisation policy in Central Asia: Showing that democracy is the best form of governance, etc. Central Questions/ Research Focus: Questions to ask (tip: the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? Why? (and How?))

What central academic question does your work hope to answer (What)? OR How does your work contribute to answering a specific problem a problem closely tied to your research focus, of course (How)? OR What is necessary to solve practical problems, take decisions, or make improvements (What)? OR What in your research field is unclear, problematic, incomprehensible or confusing (Why)? OR Which time period will you study (When)?

Example What possibilities exist for the OSCEs democratisation policies in countries without democratic traditions? Guiding Questions You can break down your central question into a number of smaller inquiries that answer specific parts of the main question. Example How are democratisation concepts being developed? What tools are being employed? Who takes decisions about democratisation policy? Etc. Goals What scholarly (theoretical, empirical), material, and/or political goals does your work aim for? Example Using examples, the work should depict democratisation policy. The work should, on the theoretical level, make a contribution to research on the value of both universalist and particularist concepts. The work should, on the empirical level, study the implementation of selected OSCE projects. The work should, on the political level, contribute to the discussion of the OSCEs democratisation policy. 8

Research Progress At this point, it is necessary to see: What has already been written on your topic, and in which research disciplines/areas? What is the current state of research? Which (if any) theories can contribute something to your analysis? And finally, where does a demand for research exist? Example On the topic of OSCE democratisation policy in countries without democratic traditions, you can (in accordance with the focus of your central questions) bring in existing studies on the democratisation policies of external actors, check transformation theories for their explanatory value, or incorporate theories and studies about political change in non-democratic political systems. Method Your method is the academic foundation of your analysis. The following factors play a role:

On what level does your research begin? What is its scope/reach? What makes up your research material? (Books, magazines, essays, interviews, journal articles, politicians statements, documents/special archives, political cartoons, audio/video documents, your own observations, your own or others surveys, statistics, etc.). Do you have sufficient access to literature and sources? Can these sources satisfactorily answer your research questions, or do you need to further specify your topic? According to what criteria will you conduct your study of the material/case studies? Your criteria should be based on the current state of research in your field. Will you verify hypotheses (postulated connections between criteria)? Practically speaking, how will your research proceed (approach)? In general, most methods in political science have either empirical-analytical or theoretical approaches (or a combination of the two).

Example The method could, for example, consist of describing the development of concrete democratisation projects (Material: surveys of participants) in selected countries (case studies), from the project conceptualisation (external political level) to the project implementation (domestic political level). Thus you could verify a hypothesis that postulates a connection between the participation of local actors in the conceptualisation of programmes and these programmes acceptance within the local community (e.g., Thethe). See below. Even if you invest a significant amount of time and energy in such a masters thesis, it is possible that the case studies will be extremely limited and fragmented. If so, your ability to make well-supported conclusions will also be constricted. One possible solution is to comparatively analyse a few different case studies. If you choose this option make sure that the cases, while conforming to your chosen research criterion, are as different as possible. This approach will make it possible for you to determine whether your criterion is central to your question or can be disregarded. Hypotheses First, formulate the assumptions/hypotheses you will analyse in the course of your work. The hypotheses should be well grounded in the current knowledge-base surrounding your topic, not created out of thin air. You may also derive them from existing theories. Do not compose your hypotheses at the end of your work! Such a strategy is boring and unscientific. You will see a much stronger advance in your knowledge if you start with hypotheses that turn out to be incorrect, and are forced to abandon them and build new theories based on your own analysis. Furthermore, construct hypotheses that are as concrete as possible, not general statements. Finally, near the end of your work you will have to reflect on what impacts your findings have had on your original assumptions. Example: The more civilised a state (rule of law, democracy), the more prepared it is to comply with international legal regimes. Justification: It is predicted that democratic states are more compliant than non-democratic ones. This 9

phenomenon is attributable to (Democratic) Liberalism, which explicitly focuses on inner-societal variables and their international implications. Later finding: On this empirical basis one could reasonably judge that the part of (Democratic) Liberal Theory which says that democracies act differently from non-democracies cannot be upheld in the context of international jurisdiction, because national differences in political system do not appear in this area of the international system.

Final Conclusions and Recommendations (if existent) Final conclusions should bring together all of your findings (e.g., to what extent your hypotheses had to be abandoned or revised). They should also address your general problem and as much as possible try to answer your central question. Furthermore, if one of your goals is to make policy or action recommendations to political actors, you should do so here. Finally, you should also highlight the possibilities for further research based on your findings. 9. Outlining Preliminary Considerations/Drafting a Synopsis Some advisors require an outline of preliminary ideas for a masters thesis. An outline can also be quite helpful in clarifying your own intentions. A much more comprehensive and detailed synopsis, meanwhile, is generally required for scholarship applications. A synopsis helps you present your ideas, update your project outline through systematic preliminary studies, and solidify your knowledge of the relevant literature and sources Outline of Preliminary Considerations (Length ca. 1-5 pages) Thesis title (main and secondary titles) Problem/Research interests Question(s) Theory base Method Material Preliminary work progress Special problems (if you have special problems, explain them in detail) Time schedule (plan from the due date backwards) Synopsis (Length 10-20 pages) Short description of the planned work (abstract, max. 1 page) Introductory outline of the problem Research focus Problem/research interests Question(s) Goals (Academic) relevance Current state of research Theoretical underpinnings Theoretical framework Methodological approach Central concepts, materials, variables, hypotheses, case studies Outline of your framework Organisation of your work, including time schedule, required funds (if existent, e.g. for travel, literature, technical equipment), cooperation partners Bibliography Attachments (if existent) such as your own academic CV with contact details (1 page)

10. Tackling Formal Requirements In terms of formal requirements, there are always a variety of possibilities. One ground rule: Be consistent, be concise, be systematic! You may want to take a look at how your advisor publishes his/her own works, or ask directly about his/her requirements and preferences. Requirements for consistent formatting, for example in a thesis, enable (among other things) evaluators to see if the author has adhered to the length limits. These requirements must be strictly observed. You certainly do not want the grader to be displeased from the moment he/she begins to read! In addition, the formatting could be checked by the registrars office or a similar overseeing body, in which case it would behove you to have obeyed the requirements. Furthermore, adherence to the required formatting (including citation and bibliography format, etc.) demonstrates you have mastered the basic scholarly methods an absolute precondition for a postgraduate academic degree. You will find samples of the following format in the appendix. These samples should help you get oriented. Cover Page Table of Contents Citation method Direct/indirect citation Abbreviations Footnote system Ellipses Grammatical Adjustments Handling foreign-language texts Handling confidential information Source and Literature Indices/ Bibliography Personal Statement 11. ... last but not least Allow yourself enough time to rework your text if necessary. Editing is more than just reading it through again. There are two central steps involved here: Self-Editing Make sure your threads of thought are visible, your argument logically consistent, and your writing style in accordance with scholarly aims. Eliminate redundancy. Final Correction with Outside Help Find a competent acquaintance/classmate/friend who will take the time to read through your text and discuss his/her findings. Make sure to allow enough time for the reader to examine your paper carefully and thoroughly. (By outside help we do NOT mean ghost-writing!) Plan enough time to incorporate the recommended changes. We also suggest that you ask someone unfamiliar with your field of research to read your paper for comprehensibility, and someone good at writing to edit the language (a native speaker who is a good editor of spelling and grammar). Ideally, at least 2-3 people should read your paper in its entirety before you turn it in.

III. Further Literature

Booth, Wayne C./Colomb, Gregory G./Williams, Joseph M.: The Craft of Research. Chicago, London: Chicago University Press, 1995. Drew, Sue/Rosie Bringham (Hrsg.): The Student Skills Guide. Second Edition. Cornwall: Gower Publishing, 2001. Franck, Norbert: Handbuch Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten. 2. Auflage. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2007. Gash, Sarah: Effective Literature Searching for Research. Second Edition. Cambridge: Gower Publishing, 2000. Gibaldi, Joseph: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Sixth Edition. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003 (online available Kalina, Ondej/Kppl, Stefan/Kranenpohl, Uwe/Lang, Rdiger/Stern, Jrgen/Straner, Alexander : Grundkurs Politikwissenschaft. Einfhrung ins wissenschaftliche Arbeiten. Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag, 2003. Kirszner, Laurie G., Stephen R. Maudell: The Holt Handbook. Fort Worth Philadelphia, San Diego, New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 2001. Kretschmer, Horst/Stary, Joachim: Umgang mit wissenschaftlicher Literatur. Eine Arbeitshilfe. Berlin: Cornelsen Scriptor, 2007. Kruse, Otto: Keine Angst vor dem Leeren Blatt. Ohne Schreibblockaden durchs Studium. 12. vollstndig neu bearbeitete Auflage. Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag, 2007. Schlichte, Klaus: Einfhrung in die Arbeitstechniken der Politikwissenschaft. 2. Auflage. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag fr Sozialwissenschaften, 2005. Stock, Steffen/Schneider, Patricia/Peper, Elisabeth/Molitor, Eva (Hrsg.): Erfolgreich promovieren. Ein Ratgeber von Promovierten fr Promovierende. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 2006. (See especially the sections on Projektmanagement (project management), Zeitmanagement (time management), Literaturrecherche (literature research), Literaturverwaltung (literature management), Textverarbeitungsprogramme (programme for working with texts), Datensicherung (data security), Schreibtechniken (writing techniques), Expos (synopsis), Krisenbewltigung (handling crises).) Theisen, Manuel Ren: Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten, 13. Auflage. Mnchen: Verlag Vahlen, 2006.


IV. Appendices
1. Details on writing a Masters Thesis for the postgraduate programme Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik (M.P.S.)

The paper should be ca. 40-50 pages in length, in the format described below (excluding title page, table of contents, list of abbreviations, list of interviewees, etc.). The cover page should contain the exact title of the work, authors name, authors place of birth, date, and graders name(s) (see sample page). The table of contents should be clearly laid out and list the papers elements in the correct order (see sample page) The paper should be divided into sub-sections, each with its own sub-heading. All sections should be numbered. Charts, tables, etc., are welcome. They not only illustrate your point but also provide some optical relief to blocks of text. A list of abbreviations is not always necessary. Use your best judgement. Generally speaking, the first time an abbreviation appears in your paper you should write out the entire name, then put the abbreviation in parentheses just after the official (long) name. From then on you may use the abbreviation. Common abbreviations such as etc. and e.g. should not be included in a list of abbreviations. If in doubt, consult a book or other work one that is relevant to your topic and has a list of abbreviations as an example of what to include and how to structure your list. If you include a list of abbreviations, it should directly follow the table of contents. If you conduct interviews for your research, you should include (as an appendix) a list with the name, organisation, and function of each interviewee, as well as the date and location of the interview. As additional information for the graders, attach a short personal statement (academic CV, one page) to the end of your paper. The citation format may be either English or American, but you must strictly and consistently adhere to a single citation system throughout the paper (see below). Some English-language citation systems are Chicago, Harvard, Oxford, and MLA. All available information on your data should be listed in the bibliography (including author(s) first name(s), location and name of the publishing company, start- and end-page numbers of journal articles, etc.). The information should be consistent for all titles used (see sample). You must include a written honour statement with your masters thesis, in accordance with M.P.S. regulations (see sample page). The general due date is 15 July (for the exact date, see the M.P.S. schedule for the appropriate year). You should turn in three copies of your masters thesis (preferably bound). One copy will go to each grader, and the third will be made publicly available in the IFSH library upon successful completion of the M.P.S. degree programme. You must also provide one electronic copy of your thesis along with the printed versions. The electronic copy may be either on a CD included with your printed copies or in an email file sent in advance of the deadline. The entire thesis should be contained in one file. It is extremely important that we receive a Word version of your paper so that we can check for plagiarism. An additional PDF version is also desirable. The paper should have the following layout:


Layout Chapter Headings Section and Sub-section Headings Body Text Footnote Text

Times New Roman Times New Roman Times New Roman Times New Roman Times New Roman Times New Roman top 2.5 cm bottom 2 cm left 2.5 cm right 4 cm

12 pt 12 pt 12 pt 10 pt 12 pt 12 pt

bold italics 1.5-space, justified 1-space, justified 1-space, justified, book title in italics Lower right corner

Page Numbers Page Margins

You may use footnotes, but not endnotes. Insert two blank lines before and one after each heading (including section headings). Insert one blank line between paragraphs. You may write your thesis in German or English (in German, obey the new orthography rules). Spelling and grammatical errors should be kept to an absolute minimum.


2. Sample Cover Page

Main Title

A Masters Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Peace and Security Policy Studies/ Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik (M.P.S.)


Claudia Sample
Sample City, Sample Country Hamburg, July 200X

Graders: Dr. ... Dr. ...


3. Sample Table of Contents Table of Contents List of Abbreviations.................................................................................................................X List of Charts and Tables (optional)..........................................................................................X 1. Introduction...........................................................................................................................X 1.1 Starting Point: Problem Diagnosis..................................................................................X 1.2 Political and Scholarly Relevance of the Work..............................................................X 1.3 Central/Guiding Questions, Research Goals, Hypotheses......................................X 1.4 Method of Inquiry and Structure of the Work.................................................................X 1.5 Theories and Methods.....................................................................................................X 1.6 Sources and Literature/State of Current Research.......................................................X 2. Chapter 1...............................................................................................................................X 2.1 Section 1, Chapter 1........................................................................................................X 2.2 Section 2, Chapter 1 (and so on).....................................................................................X 2.3 Summary..........................................................................................................................X 3. Chapter 2...........................................................................................................................X 3.1 Section 1, Chapter 2........................................................................................................X 3.2 Section 2, Chapter 2 (and so on).....................................................................................X 3.3 Summary.........................................................................................................................X X. Conclusion: Empirical findings, theoretical insights, possibilities for reform.....................X Bibliography of Sources and Literature.....................................................................................X List of Interviewees (or similar) (optional)................................................................................X Personal Statement (academic CV)............................................................................................X Written Honor Statement...............X


4. Sample Citation Formats Footnote System/European Format, Direct Quotes (Chicago humanities style) According to Sprachschn, Writing is fundamentally more productive when based on experience in the field.1 Footnote System/European Format, Indirect Quotes (Chicago humanities style) According to some authorities, productive writing primarily depends on having field experience.2 Unlike in German, the English Cf. (the equivalent of Vgl.) is used only when the information you are using did not come from one specific source. It is used to give the reader one example of a general trend you are mentioning. If you quote or paraphrase a certain author, or if the information you give was taken from one specific source, then cite that source directly without using Cf. In-Text Citation System/ American Format (Chicago sciences style) Productive writing primarily depends on having field experience (Sprachschn 1965, 37). Ellipses In his sermon, the Footnote Pope turned on...abbreviation as an unacceptable simplification of the high art of footnote construction. (Ellipses are only necessary in direct quotes). Grammatical Adjustments In his sermon, the Footnote Pope turned on...abbreviation, [because it leads to] an unacceptable simplification of the high art of footnote construction. To distinguish your own additions from the authors parenthetical comments, use square brackets rather than parentheses when you make grammatical adjustments within quotes. Handling Foreign-Language Texts Studyskill is correct in his assessment that successful writing must follow clear rules (Studyskill 1987, 5, authors translation from the German). Political science texts also often include quotes written in English without translation. Handling Confidential Information A UN employee gives you an interview and permission to freely incorporate any useful information from these discussions into your thesis. However, he specifically asks that his name not be mentioned. In the footnote, write: Personal conversation at the United Nations, xx.xx.xxxx. In in-text format: (Source: Interviews, UN, xx.xx.xxxx). You should include a list of all interview partners in an appendix. A UN employee gives you an interview, but specifically asks that it be off the record (confidential). You may only use this information indirectly, to develop your own thoughts and ideas. You may not refer to the interview in your text at all. Any arguments or statements that you make in your text must be supported by other, non-confidential, sources. A UN employee gives you a confidential document. How should you deal with it? You should deal with confidential documents in the same manner as confidential interviews. You may not use the document directly in your work. You may only use it for background information, from which you may develop your own ideas, but any arguments made in your text must be supported by other, non-confidential, sources.

1 2

Elvira Sprachschn, sthetik in Abschlussarbeiten (Buxtehude, 1965), 37. Cf. Elvira Sprachschn, sthetik in Abschlussarbeiten (Buxtehude, 1965), 37.


Variations on Citations (Footnotes and in-text) Michael Bernhard, Civil society after the first transition: Dilemmas of post-communist democratization in Poland and beyond, Communist and Post-Communist Studies 29, no.3 (Fall 1996): 315. (Turabian style, footnote). Michael Bernhard, Civil society after the first transition: Dilemmas of post-communist democratization in Poland and beyond, Communist and Post-Communist Studies 29(3) (1996) 315. (Chicago humanities style, footnote). M. Bernhard, Civil society after the first transition: Dilemmas of post-communist democratization in Poland and beyond, Communist and Post-Communist Studies: 29(3): Fall 1996: 315. (Oxford style, footnote). (Bernhard 1996, 315) (MLA and Chicago sciences styles, in-text citation). Note that footnotes and bibliographies are formatted slightly differently. Make sure to check that you are formatting your citations consistently and that they correspond with the correct bibliography format. Writing the year number directly after the authors name lends itself well to the American style in-text citation system (see above). As a rule, no matter which order you choose for the information in your bibliography, it is imperative that you are absolutely consistent in using the same system throughout. This is also true for the language you choose. Either present all information in German (Hrsg., S., u.a.) or English (Eds., p., inter alia, etc.). Note: Modern data bank search programmes make it much easier to conform your citation style and bibliography to the demands of journals, publishers, etc.a task which otherwise must be done by hand. Note: A basic scholarly skill is carefully, attentively working with sources. In other words, it is expected that you always make precise statements. Flawlessly quoting not only demonstrates methodical competence but also protects you from accusations of plagiarism. Plagiarism endangers the successful completion of your degree, ruins your career (it is a violation of ethical scholarship) and can bring serious penalties. It is not for no reason that all degree-seeking students at the University are required to turn in a written honour statement with their theses. American Citation Style
Kimminich (1980:218) points out: The international legal renunciation of force alone can achieve neither peace nor justice. The reduction of violence in international politics must be synchronised with the construction of non-violent mediation and conflict resolution mechanisms. This badly needed violence prevention requires the development of efficient policies for the judicial settlement of international conflicts: Anyone who hopes to categorically exclude violence as a tool of international politics must not be satisfied with a simple ban on violence and war. Institutional structures must be set up to help enable adherence to the renunciation of violence. One of these consequences must be the accession to an obligatory system of arbitration and jurisdiction. This consequence is a lynchpin, if not the most important point, of any civilised conflict resolution process (Lutz 1995:252). Article 24, Paragraph 3 of the Federal Republic of Germanys Basic Law3 even imposes, in the view of many experts, the obligation to accede to an international arbitration court. Hence, for all intents and purposes this clause makes it legitimate when not specifically forbidden for Germany to assume a role as a pace-setter in the institutionalisation of obligatory jurisdictional courts (Lutz 1998:71).

Footnotes can be used for additional commentary or examples that do not fit into the text


Three Ground Rules: (1) If you refer to the authors name in your text directly before the quote, you may put only the year and page number in parentheses after the quote. Otherwise: (2) After a quote (direct or indirect) you must include the authors last name, the year and the page number in parentheses. (3) Only use Cf. when your information does not come from a specific work.

European Citation Style

In her 2002 article, Gabriele Kuhn-Zuber enriches the discussion of human rights concepts regarding the relationship between Islam and human rights, which can be variously defined depending on how the relevant religious texts are interpreted. Kuhn-Zuber recommends analysing repression according to the norms and standards of the given culture itself, and points out that such analysis regularly provides no substantiation for accusations of human rights violations. Therefore, she argues, intercultural exchanges between Islamic and Western cultural circles should be furthered.4 Johann Galtung states that human rights derive not from the logic of a religious or philosophical system, but instead spring from common basic needs such as survival, well-being, freedom and identity. He recommends the creation of not only a catalogue of rights and responsibilities but also a governmental Peace Office and, as a guarantee of security, a central global government heading a worldwide democracy.5 A number of measures used in the war on terror since 11 Septermber 2001 have recently come under strong criticism. William Schulz, Secretary General of Amnesty International USA, clearly identifies the new strengthening of laws and limitations on freedom. They include the imprisonment of hundreds of people without charges being brought, the Presidential decision to re-allow intelligence officials to kill, the danger that Bush will establish military law without the legal protection mechanisms required by international law, and the suggestion by the FBI that suspects be tortured if unwilling to testify, or that they be transferred to countries where they can be tortured.6

Three Ground Rules: (1) The first time you use a source, write out the citation in full (that is, include all bibliographic information). (2) Only use Cf. when your information does not come from one specific source. (3) In subsequent citations of the same source, use the short version (authors name, short title, and page number). For example: Eibe Riedel, Der Internationale Menschenrechtsschutz, 20. All short version citations should be consistently formatted (i.e., they should contain the same information, presented in the same order). For further details, please refer to the relevant texts on scholarly writing.

Gabriele Kuhn-Zuber, Der Islam und die Universalitt der Menschenrechte in der Kritik, in Menschenrechte. Bilanz und Perspektiven (Frieden durch Recht II), ed. Jana Hasse, Erwin Mller, and Patricia Schneider (Demokratie, Sicherheit, Frieden 137, Baden-Baden, 2002), 307-331. Johann Galtung, Menschenrechte fr das nchste Jahrhundert. Zwlf Thesen, in: Die Zukunft der Menschenrechte-Vision. Verstndigung zwischen den Kulturen, ed. Johan Galtung (Frankfurt a.M./New York 2000), 7. US-Amerikaner sehen sich nicht gern als blutrnstig, die tageszeitung, 04.12.2001. This kind of military tribunal is closed to the public, permits evidence gained from confidential sources, and does not allow the accused to choose his own attorney. See also Das ist nicht mehr Amerika, die tageszeitung, 04.12.2001. (You may also make your own comments in footnotes).


5. Sample Bibliography You may, if desired, divide your bibliography into sections, for example primary sources, secondary literature, journal articles, internet articles, etc. If you use this method, alphabetise the entries within each section. This format has a particular disadvantage in the American citation system, however, since to find a given article you must then comb through a number of different sections looking for the authors last name. As a rule, one general bibliography of all sources is fine, although this rule and its application vary between disciplines. Sample A, Bibliography (for an English-language thesis, Chicago sciences style) DOCUMENTS Commission of the European Communities, Communication from the Commission on EU Election Assistance and Observation, COM (2000) 191 final, 11 April 2000. The Constitutional Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan, adopted 6 May 1999, last amended 14 April 2004, online available at (download 14.12.2005). Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, General Comment No. 25: The right to participate in public affairs, voting rights and the right of equal access to public service (Art. 25), CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.7, 12 July 1997, online available at (download 14.12.2005). OSCE, Eleventh Meeting of the Ministerial Council, 1 and 2 December 2003, Decision no. 5/03, MC DEC5/03, Maastricht, 2003. OSCE/ODIHR, Kyrgyz Republic, Constitutional Referendum, 2 February 2003, Political Assessment Report, Warsaw, OSCE/ODIHR, 2003. OSCE/ODIHR, Parliamentary Elections, The Kyrgyz Republic, 27 February 2005, International Election Observation Mision, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, Bishkek, OSCE/ODIHR, 28 February 2005. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, GA Res. 217 A (III), adopted 10 December 1948. Reprinted in Yearbook of the United Nations 1948-49, New York, Department of Public Information, 1950. SECONDARY LITERATURE Balian, Hrair, Ten Years of International Election Assistance and Observation, in: Helsinki Monitor, vol. 12, no. 3, 2001, pp. 197-209. Beigbeder, Yves, International Monitoring of Plebiscites, Referenda and National Elections. Self-Determination and Transition to Democracy, Dordrecht/Boston/London, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994. Blank, Stephen, Democratic Prospects in Central Asia, in World Affairs, vol. 166, no. 3, 2004, pp. 133-148.


Sample B, German-Language Bibliography Quellen- und Literaturverzeichnis Ahlbrecht, Heiko/Ambos, Kai (Hrsg.), 1999: Der Fall Pinochet(s). Auslieferung wegen staatsverstrkter Kriminalitt?, Baden-Baden: Nomos. (sample book) Auswrtiges Amt, 2001: Internationaler Seegerichtshof Hamburg, de/aussenpolitik/vn/seerecht/isgh_html, Stand: 01.02.2001, Zugriff am 22.02.2002. (sample internet source) Bernhardt, Rudolf (Hrsg.), 1994a: Interim Measures Indicated by International Courts, Berlin (u.a.): Springer. (sample 1, one author with multiple works written in the same year) Bernhardt, Rudolf, 1994b: Human Rights and Judicial Review: The European Court of Human Rights, in: Beatty, D. M. (Hrsg): Human Rights and Judicial Review, London (u.a.): Kluwer Law International, S. 297-319. Bibliographisches Institut AG (Hrsg.), 1971ff.: Meyers Enzyklopdisches Lexikon in 25 Bnden, Mannheim: Lexikon Verlag. (sample 1, a work with multiple volumes published over a series of years) Bothe, Michael, 2000: The Protection of the Civilian Population and NATO Bombing on Yugoslavia. Comments on a Report to the Prosecutor of the ICTY, in: International Peacekeeping, 4-6/2000, S. 158-162. (sample journal article) Mller, Erwin/Schneider, Patricia, 2006: Einfhrung, in: Mller, Erwin/Schneider, Patricia (Hrsg.): Sicherheit vs. Freiheit? Die Europische Union im Kampf gegen den Terrorismus, BadenBaden: Nomos, S. 9-27. (sample edited collection) 5. Sample Honor Statement

Honor Statement
I pledge that this Masters Thesis, entitled ... has not been submitted for academic credit in any other capacity, and that this Masters Thesis has not yet been published. I further pledge that I have written this Masters Thesis myself, on my own. I have not employed any sources or aids other than those listed. I have appropriately identified and acknowledged all words and ideas taken from other works.

Hamburg, the ... _________________________________ (Signature)


7. Criteria for the evaluation of work written for the M.P.S. programme Your professors, especially the specified evaluators and/or graders, are responsible for the evaluation of your thesis. This postgraduate programme, therefore, does not specify binding evaluation criteria. Nonetheless, the process should be as transparent as possible, for both examiners and students. The recommended questions/ criteria for judgement listed below should thus serve as a guide for coordination and orientation. (1) Are the central question and general theme clearly explained? (2) Does the work exhibit sufficient consistency in approach, system of organisation, composition and construction? (3) Does the author demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the current state of research? (4) How well does the author correctly apply his/her chosen methods and demonstrate a mastery of formal work methodology? (5) Does the author present the material comprehensibly? Does he/she exhibit sufficient comfort and competence in using academic language and writing style? (6) Does the work present original findings? To what extent does the author critically reflect on the works conclusions in comparison to other (opposing) perspectives? (7) Theory: How well does the author order his/her conclusions within the disciplines knowledge base and discuss the theorys generaliseability? (8) Practice: Does the author sufficiently discuss research findings in terms of feasibility and ability to solve the identified problems? Although these criteria primarily apply to the Masters Thesis, they can also be applied to other written work and, more flexibly, to oral examinations.