Key message: The outline of a text must contain all important parts in a logical order and should make a good visual impression.
An outline is the division of a whole into several parts. The structure of a whole is the arrangement of its parts. With a good structure, the parts fit together to give a well-recognizable whole.
A text structure is the "structuring of a text into subtexts ... how far a multiple subdivision on several hierarchically ordered levels is made, for large texts in chapters, paragraphs, sections, paragraphs" depends on the content structure and scope of the text. (https://web.archive.org/web/20081222153848/http://www-user.uni-bremen.de:80/~schoenke/tlgl/tlgl.html see text structuring,11.05.18)
Scientists excel in their expertise and research areas. Researchers also need to read a large amount of scientific publications such as articles,
essays, books. If the scientific articles are structured uniformly, the reading is easy and can save a lot of time.
All scientific articles that present studies have the same structure: Introduction - Methods - Results and Dicussion (IMRAD):
"The basic structure of a work is summarized under the abbreviation IMRAD.
Introduction (which question was asked?)
Methods (how was it examined?)
Results (What was found?)
Discussion (What do the results mean?) "
(Hall, G.M. et al.: How to Write a Paper, London, BMJ Publishing Group, 2003, 10/11/13)
IMRAD is not a formal but a principled structure. That means the chapters do not necessarily have to be "Introduction", "Methods", "Results".
So that a work does not become confusing, it should as far as possible be subdivided into not more than three levels. A chapter must be divided into at
least two subchapters. A chapter with only one subchapter is not allowed.
Which outline principle applies to all Bachelor's or Master's theses?
For all Bachelor's or Master's theses the outline principle applies: Introduction - main part - conclusion. So all works have an introduction, which usually means that. For the introduction, therefore, the only question is: Should it be further subdivided or not?
A bachelor's or master's thesis is written for professionals. These know the structure of an introduction, which is why a subdivision is not absolutely necessary (it would take away space). If the supervisor but want a subdivision z. For example, in motivation, task or structure of the work, then of course this desire to follow.
All work has a conclusion that corresponds to the discussion at IMRAD. However, the conclusion does not have the title "conclusion", but a different name (in an empirical work mostly "discussion").
For the main part, all works (empirical as well as theoretical) apply at least one method and the results are presented and discussed. Empirical works are usually structured accordingly (IMRAD). In theoretical work, at least one method is used in one or more chapters (analyze, interpret, argue, ...) and in these chapters the results are then presented and discussed.
In order to answer the research question, all work applies the basic principle of problem solving. Only those who have understood this can structure their Bachelor's or Master's thesis logically.
A problem exists when someone is dissatisfied with an actual situation and it is difficult to achieve the desired situation.
The desired situation can be achieved by applying a method. If you have scientific problems, you are dissatisfied with the known knowledge and would like to
come to new conclusions.
For a bachelor's or master's thesis, there is a desire to work out the results that can be used to answer the research question in order to achieve the goal of the work. The following picture shows this connection:
The three main steps to solve the problem are (Lindemann, U. (2009) Methodological development of technical products, Heidelberg: Springer, p. 46,
· Clarify problem and goal
· Generate alternative solutions
· Make decision (choose solution).
Clarifying the problem and the goal and generating solution alternatives is done on the basis of known knowledge. Then a solution, i. H. one or more methods selected and performed so that the desired results are obtained (see "The Scientific Methods").
The research question and any other question / problem in the course of a bachelor's or master's thesis is therefore answered by this logical chain: putting together known knowledge - applying methods - obtaining new results - answering a question / solving a problem.
To find the outline, this chain can be traversed backwards to answer the research question. For everything that follows the introduction serves the purpose of answering the research question at the end of the work. The desired answer is therefore the starting point to find the necessary chapters to prepare this answer:
1. What results are needed to answer the research question?
2. What methods must be used to obtain these results?
3. What known knowledge must be put together so that the methods can be carried out?
The structure of a text is its division into several parts. The division depends on its content. If I know exactly what I want to write, I can structure
the text without any problem before I start writing. At the beginning, however, I usually only have a rough idea of its content. Luckily, I learned at school to organize a text before
"In the discussion we answer a question of fact which we view from different angles and penetrate in thought. ...
1. Collection of material: ... collect thoughts as they come up and write them down. ...
2. Material order and structure: The multiplicity of points of view must be arranged, tightened and summarized, ... Link so that the one fits in well with the other, whereby you either advance from the general to the specific or from the individual to the general. " www.digitale-schule-bayern.de/dsdaten/587/724.pdf, 20.06.13)
The following describes how to move from the individual to the general to organize a text. (How to proceed from the general to the specific: see "Writing the text" under "Writing - 2nd obstacle".)
1. Collection of materials
The aim of the collection of materials is to gain a comprehensive overview of the work, so that no outline point is forgotten.
I therefore take a piece of paper and write down all the questions, statements, aspects and points that come to mind about my work and the desired answer to the research question (main question). At each point, I do a quick search on the Internet to see if my ideas are fitting and complete (see "Finding the Literature").
I get a comprehensive overview when I look at my work "from different sides". In this way of looking at things, I can use different basic principles. (Whoever does not have to solve a complicated problem does not necessarily need the basic principles.)
"Basic principles are general strategies or principles that shape action in the development process. Regardless of the concrete problem, the observance of these basic principles can support the developer in his work. "(Lindemann, U. (2009)., Methodical Development of Technical Products, Heidelberg: Springer, p. 55, 20.06.13)