Good structure of your student work

Well organized is half done: a good study work needs a good structure. We’ll tell you how it works

The topic of your bachelor thesis is fixed, you have already read a few essays, now it’s time to get down to business: your own text. But before you can write wildly, you have to make a plan how to build your work. Create a mind map or a sketch, which main and subpoints exist and how they relate to each other. This results in a first outline design, which you will probably change a few times in the course of writing. This is quite normal, because only when writing you recognize deeper relationships and priorities.

Proceed according to proven scheme

Nevertheless, there are a few guidelines that you can use to orient yourself from the beginning. The most important thing is that your structure is logical. A rough framework is the tripartite division: introduction – main part – conclusion. Even within the individual parts, the red thread of your investigation should be clear.


The following scheme has proved useful for the initiation: Begin the introduction with a current reference or a brief explanation to get you started. Then you introduce your topic and your research question. Then you discuss the state of research and describe the structure of your work.


The structure of the main part of course depends on your individual topic, but also here are proven schemes. If you compare two facts with each other, it is helpful to introduce both individually first and then to draw the comparison. If you want to analyze changes in something, it can be useful to proceed chronologically. When you examine a fact that consists of several parts, you can dedicate a chapter to each part and always build it up similarly. Let’s assume that your theme is:> The type of artist in Thomas Mann’s early work. Then it makes sense to dedicate a chapter to each of the relevant texts, ie chapter 2.1 Tonio Kröger , 2.2 Buddenbrooks and so on. Each of these chapters, for example, you subdivide into the sub-items Characteristics of the artist type , value of the artistic and so on. This creates structure and provides immediate orientation.


In conclusion, you summarize your key results again succinctly. It is not a problem if you repeat yourself. Finally, answer your research question that you asked in the introduction. Indicate to what extent your work is relevant: For example, if you evaluate a survey of 20 subjects, your work is not generalizable, but only a sample. Point out if further research would be desirable on specific sub-questions. Complete the work with a catchy conclusion, such as a quote, a succinct summary, or a sentence.

Beyond these typical steps, there are some guiding principles that should guide you in the structure:

Set an appropriate focus

The outline should clearly show where the focus of your work lies. This should fit the title of your work. If your bachelor thesis is The role of Mephisto in Goethe’s Faust , your reader expects your work to focus on this character. If you devote Chapter 1 of the Presentation to God, Chapter 2 of the main character, and Chapter 3 Mephisto, and all of them may be the same length, the reader is confused – and the outline has missed its effect.

Divide chapters by relevance

Subchapters of an outline level (for example, 2.1 and 2.2) must have a similar rank in terms of content and fit the same overpoint. You should not overlap too much in content, otherwise you will repeat yourself too often. Here is a negative example: You examine the effects of the minimum wage in EU countries. Chapter 2 is Layoffs as a result of the minimum wage . You subdivide it into 2.1 dismissal of individual employees, 2.2 dismissal of several employees and 2.3 reduction of working hours . Points 2.1 and 2.2 overlap too much to make two separate subsections. 2.3 is important, but does not quite fit with the parent chapter heading.

Balance of chapters

Divide a chapter into several subchapters only if there are at least two subchapters. So who wants to subdivide Chapter 1, must at least 1.1 and 1.2 call. More than nine sub-items to a single chapter are far too much. Because a subchapter should always be at least half a page long. Otherwise, it is simply too short to be considered a relevant outline point. The division of chapters into sub-items should be reasonably consistent. For example, Chapter 3 should not have eight subchapters, while Chapter 4 is not broken down.

Not too many levels

Most examiners do not like to see certain sections of a seminar or bachelor thesis cover more than four levels. Point is still acceptable, point not!

Matching chapter headings

Choose the headline of a chapter so that it suits the content succinctly. For example, if you study the phenomenon of cyberbullying, chapter headings such as “Feature 1” or “Episode 1” are not meaningful. Give up headlines on verbs and superfluous articles. Instead of> The principles according to which the nouns are formed in the English language <you write> Principles of Substantive Education in English – concise but apt!

With these tips, your outline will certainly succeed. And well structured is half succeeded. I wish you success!

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