Writing Your Thesis

At this page, we provide some information necessary while writing a thesis. Basically, the same rules can be applied for any other scientific paperwork. We must admit that this information collected here is neither complete nor represents it a general rule set. Nevertheless, we try to keep it up-to-date and comprehensive. If you have comments or suggestions, please drop me a short note.


  • We provide a template for your thesis in LaTeX: Download.
  • Please try to stick with this layout.

General Rules and Hints

  1. Structure of the document
    The main document should be organized as follows. The ratio between the main sections (2.-4.) is 1/3 to 1/3 to 1/3! Regarding the size of the thesis, a rough measure might be 60-80 pages for a bachelor thesis and 80-90 for a master’s thesis.
    • Abstract / Kurzfassung: each about 1/2 page
      • How to write an abstract
      • Motivation (Why do we care?)
      • Problem statement (What problem are we trying to solve?)
      • Approach (How did we go about it)
      • Results (What’s the answer?)
      • Conclusion (What are the implications of the answer?)
    • 1. Intoduction (general motivation for your work, context and goals): 1-2 pages
      • Context: make sure to link where your work fits in
      • Problem: gap in knowledge, too expensive, too slow, a deficiency, superseded technology
      • Strategy: the way you will address the problem
    • 2. Fundamentals / environment and related work: 1/3
      • comment on employed hardware and software
      • describe methods and techniques that build the basis of your work
      • review related work(!)
    • 3. Developed architecture / system design / implementation: 1/3
      • start with a theoretical approach
      • describe the developed system/algorithm/method from a high-level point of view
      • go ahead in presenting your developments in more detail
    • 4. Measurement results / analysis / discussion: 1/3
      • whatever you have done, you must comment it, compare it to other systems, evaluate it
      • usually, adequate graphs help to show the benefits of your approach
      • caution: each result/graph must be discussed! what’s the reason for this peak or why have you ovserved this effect
    • 5. Conclusion: 1 page
      • summarize again what your paper did, but now emphasize more the results, and comparisons
      • write conclusions that can be drawn from the results found and the discussion presented in the paper
      • future work (be very brief, explain what, but not much how)
    • References
      • all papers and articles used in the thesis must be cited (and each reference must be used in the thesis!)
      • a rough number is 20 references for a bachelor thesis and 30-40 for a master’s thesis
      • avoid to cite web sites
      • We highly recommend to use Endnote or BibTeX for creating the references and citings
      • Further information: IEEE Rules, BibTeX
  2. Writing style
    • Avoid passive voice, active voice is easier to read. There is nothing wrong saying I (or we) did it
    • Avoid negative sentences: write in a positive (affirmative) voice, they are easier to understand.
    • Always use vector graphics for figures (PDF, EPS, …)
  3. Last minute checks
    • Did I spell out the main points of the interpretation of results?
    • Are all equations, figures, tables numbered?
    • Do all graphs, tables, diagrams have descriptive captions?
    • Are all axes and scale carefully chosen to show the relevant effects?
    • Are all axes labelled? Do the labals include the measurement units?
    • Are citations in the caption (if a graph is borrowed)?

Further reading