I often get calls from students who are just starting a bachelor thesis and absolutely do not know: How should I proceed? What should I do? I have written numerous articles on this and would now like to give an overview of what you should read in which order.
The standard case – you’d better not deviate
In my experience, 90% of theses in business administration or business informatics use the same procedure. This is:
- Read something (literature analysis)
- ask practitioners how relevant this is (survey or interviews) and
- derive something from it (evaluation).
Although this procedure is quite standard, it is well suited for starting research, as there are numerous examples. It is almost always special cases that put students in completely stressful situations. Never forget: unlike researchers such as PhD students, you are not trained in research methods. I took examples from a 10-day seminar before I did my first grounded theory properly.
I recommend avoiding special cases in the bachelor thesis and slowly starting research. You can still do this in the master’s thesis and this procedure is difficult enough to start with. If you do have a special case, please read the following articles:
1. Find a rough topic
First you should choose a topic. Take a look: Which topic do I find fundamentally exciting? Is it big data or agility or even something completely different? To do this, just go inside for a moment and ask yourself: What do I feel like doing? I mention a few topics in the reading tip under this paragraph.
Reading tip: Topics of digitization
2. Find the fine topic
Now you have roughly a topic and you need to break it down even more finely. Let’s take big data as an example. Now ask yourself: What can I explore in this way?
Just start a short analysis in academic databases (search string: (Organization OR Company) AND “Big Data”) and look for papers from this year (e.g. Google Scholar). Read the headings and possibly abstracts. What do these papers research? Let yourself be inspired! More on this in the following reading tip.
Reading tip: Find topic
3. Define the goal
Now it is time to define a goal. What do you want after solving the research questions? Hypotheses? Recommendations for action or a framework? It’s your choice!
Reading tip: Result of a bachelor thesis
4. Build research design
Now you need to build a research design. To do this, you need to combine different research methods. In our example it is quite easy. You start with a literature analysis followed by a survey or expert interviews. Then there is an evaluation. So you usually have three steps. More on this in the reading tip.
Reading tip: Build research design
5. Find literature
Now you need to have a solid understanding of your topic and find meaningful literature. I have already described in detail how to do this in the following reading tip.
Reading tip: Find literature
6. Conduct expert interviews / surveys
Now you collect data in the form of expert interviews or a survey. I explain how to approach both methods in the following two reading tips.
Reading tips :
7. Write an evaluation of the work
Now it’s time to derive meaningful insights from your data and write the work. This takes a lot of hard work and long nights, but you can do it! Finally, a few general tips on the bachelor thesis in the reading tip.
Reading tip: Tips for the bachelor thesis
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