What does dimitter meaningful quotes mean

Drafting homework

As part of a term paper, you should examine a question you have chosen yourself from the subject area of ​​the relevant course using scientific literature as well as primary and secondary literature. The subject of the housework is solely the results of the investigation and the reasons that allow you to reach your conclusions, but not your own work and knowledge process.

Texts are generally written according to the rules of the new German spelling of August 1st, 2006 (use the current Duden!).

1. Question

The linchpin of a successful scientific work is Question. Due to the complexity of reality, including that of an international institution or a foreign policy decision, you can never describe an object of investigation 'just like that'. You always have to concentrate on certain aspects and at the same time neglect others that may be important and worth investigating in and of themselves. In the question you clarify which aspect of reality you want to work on.

  • The question should be as specific as possible in order to be able to fulfill its selection function. So not: "International institutions then and now", but rather: "To what extent has the role of the UN Security Council in maintaining world peace changed after the end of the East-West conflict?"
  • Look for analytical questions (why is something happening, how does an object of investigation change, which functions does it take on when a problem / conflict arises or is dealt with). On the other hand, avoid asking purely descriptive questions (what is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe?). Pay attention to the choice of words in the introduction: The aim of the work is to 'investigate' or 'pursue a question'but not 'to describe or' depict '.
  • Look for questions that are interesting or relevant. Relevance and interest can, for example, result from an empirical observation
  • Finding a meaningful question requires a minimum knowledge of the topic to be dealt with, because questions 'out of the pocket' threaten to only confirm prejudices. The definition of the question is therefore not at the beginning, but somewhere in the middle of the work process. However, try to determine it as early as possible so that you can use the selection function of the question and concentrate on certain aspects.
  • The definition of the question presupposes that it is essentially clear on the basis of which material it is to be processed. If there is no material (or no suitable theoretical concept) available for their processing, so even the most interesting question is useless.

2. Design of the study

On the basis of a (provisionally defined) question, it is then necessary to clarify how you want to pursue the problem that has been raised and in which steps you want to develop your argument.

  • In many cases you will be dealing with a case (e.g. the German decision to participate in the Kosovo conflict). Then the danger of the description, especially the chronological description, is particularly high. It is all the more important to define a problem-oriented question ('why do the Germans participate?') And a reference to theoretical-conceptual literature (see below).
  • A comparative design is possible with which the differences and / or similarities of two or more cases can be worked out ("why did the Germans take part militarily in the Kosovo operation but not in the Gulf conflict?"). The work can then focus on explaining the variance (why the different behavior?) Or on identifying commonalities despite different results (which basic constants shape German foreign policy in this area?).
  • Sometimes the comparison method can also be made fruitful within a case by comparing phases with one another. It is then not about the description of a process over time, but about the comparison of an institution at two (or more) points in time (e.g. comparison of the functions / services / problems of the UN Security Council before the end of the East-West conflict [1985] and thereafter [1995]).

3. Theory reference

Social science knowledge arises from the interaction of theory and empiricism. Theories are cross-case constructions (e.g. models, general relationships) that help us to order, systematize and explain empirical observations. Within a scientific work, theory and empiricism can be assigned to one another in different ways. Make it clear to yourself which of these forms you want to follow and what role theory and empiricism then play in your work.

  • Theory can be used to guide an empirical investigation. The aim is to gain knowledge of a case, e.g. an international institution, while the theory provides the necessary analytical tools ("what can be learned about NATO when it is viewed from the perspective of cooperation theory?"). The theoretical reference serves to explain theoretical assumptions and to derive research criteria ("which factors do I have to concentrate on, and which can I ignore?").
  • A thesis can also aim to form a theory (e.g. in the form of cross-case sentences, hypotheses). In this case, theorizing is the goal, while empirical observations serve as a tool. It is therefore important to select cases that are suitable for theorising. A single case is not enough.
  • Finally, a thesis can be designed to test an existing theory. The focus is then on the derivation of verifiable hypotheses from a given theory ("what does neorealism expect in international relations in relation to German foreign policy after unification?") And their verification in suitable cases. Alternatively, the explanatory power of contradicting theories can be tested in the sense of a competing one or more suitable cases.
  • So think about which theoretical literature you can meaningfully connect to your work. This can be a single suitable article (or book), or a series of publications in the same field. However, it is not about a literature review ("what is there?"), But about the selection of a theoretical basis tailored to your work. Please note that theoretical contributions are often based on different assumptions and terms and are therefore not compatible with each other from the outset.

4. Procedure

When you have determined the question, the design of your work and the type of theory reference, you have to decide in which steps you want to develop your argumentation. This then results in the structure of your work. It is important that the individual steps hang on a 'common thread' and are related to each other.

  • Divide the main part of your work into several (about 2-4) larger sections, each of which deals with a central argumentation step. If necessary, longer sections can be broken down into subsections.
  • But don't break your work down into too small parts. Each section should develop a partial argumentation step - and that cannot be done in one paragraph. As a guideline, the following can apply: No unit of meaning under one page of text length. If necessary, combine sections that are too small to form larger units of meaning.
  • Check the content of each section, if necessary each subsection, for the overall argumentation of the thesis: Which sub-question does the section address? To what extent is this necessary in the context of your work (knowledge-enhancing)? Which partial result relevant to the work is obtained? It will help you and the reader if you explain partial questions at the beginning and partial results at the end. Difficulties in explication usually indicate conceptual problems. A section whose contribution to the overall argumentation is unclear can either be omitted entirely or it has to be 'rewritten' accordingly.
  • Check the connection between your sections and, if applicable, your subsections within a section: Does the previous section prepare the following? Do the argumentation steps appear in the correct order? Repetitions in the text usually indicate an unclear or problematic structure.

5. Selection of literature

The scientific progress of knowledge does not usually take place through the development of isolated ideas, but rather embedded in the current scientific discussion. The meaningful processing of a topic therefore requires knowledge of the relevant information (e.g. data and facts, contracts, statements from states or party representatives) on the one hand and the most intensive possible reference to the relevant scientific literature on the other. Which Information and Which scientific discussions are of importance to you depends primarily on the chosen topic. In general, however, the following can be said:

  • Do not limit yourself to descriptions of certain developments or events, or to books, but start with scientific articles that appear in respected journals (e.g. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, American Journal of Sociology ...).
  • Do not limit yourself to German-language literature.

6. Formalia (see also notes on the formal design of term papers)

The following formal requirements apply to term papers

Components of the work:

  • Title page (contains: name, e-mail; title of the course, study semester and course of study, title of the thesis, submission date)
  • Outline of work
  • introduction

· Narrows the topic down

· Develops the question and outlines the problem under investigation

· Gives reasons for focusing on the treated aspect

· Explains the conditions under which the topic is dealt with

· Shows how to deal with the problem ("red thread").

· Is used to process the problem along a Line of argument (of the "red thread")

· Contains the data, facts and quotations required for this, but not data, facts and quotations that are included for their own sake

· Structure of the main part according to scheme 1 .; 1.1 .; 1.1.1 .; 1.1.2 .; 1.2.

· Summarizes the results

· Answers the questions raised at the beginning

· Contains personal conclusions

Refers to unresolved problems (outlook)

· Can put the treated problem into a larger context like theses.

  • You agree the length of the text with the teacher

· Direct (verbatim) quotations should be used sparingly; They are useful if formulations are considered to be particularly typical, characteristic or apt or are needed to prove an assertion or opinion. Direct quotations are indicated by quotation marks and may not be changed (not even slightly). No adjustments, changes, inserted comments! Omissions in the quoted text must be indicated by three points (...);

· Indirect (not literal) quotations are written in the subjunctive. They are not indicated in the text by quotation marks, but provided with evidence that begins with 'cf.' (compare) begin.

· The paraphrase is written in the indicative, it is documented like the indirect quotation.

Literature tip for theses:

Eco, Umberto 2007: How to write a thesis. 12th edition Heidelberg: UTB