Software Engineering Group

Guidelines for seminars and student theses

If you have any comments, questions or additions, please contact Willi Hasselbring

Fundamentally, these guidelines apply to any scientific work conducted in the Software Engineering Group (and many hints apply to (scientific) writing in general), whether you write a seminar paper, an individual project / Bachelor thesis, or a Diploma/Master thesis. These differ primarily in the amount of time available, the expected length of the text and of the degree of novelty of the work. In the following, we will refer to any piece of work as a “paper”. These are only general guidelines, in specific seminars or for your specific thesis, additional or different guidelines may be arranged.

Guidelines for writing a paper or thesis


Please follow the following coarse-grain structure:

  1.     Title page containing topic, author, name of university, school, department and group, supervisor(s), date
  2.     Abstract
  3.     Table of contents
  4.     Introduction, making clear motivation and explaining structure of paper
  5.     …
  6.     Conclusion, incl. critical reflection
  7.     Bibliography


Citing URLs

URLs should not be put into the text, but should rather be included as a footnote or in the bibliography. If the cited page is not another kind of document (e.g. a technical report), use the BiBTeX misc entry type. When you use a bibliography style that recognized the BiBTeX url field, put the URL into this field (otherwise the howpublished field of the misc entry type and the note field of other entry types may be used, in these cases put the url into a url{...} command. Please give the date of last access in the note field, or, if your BiBTeX supports it, in a dedicated field (e.g. lastchecked). Please use the DIN/EN 28601 date format YYYY-MM-DD.

Format (technical and layout requirements)

You should write your paper using LaTeX and BiBTeX. It is expected that you deliver the sources (including a BiBTeX .bib file) and a PDF version of your paper. You should not normally try to fiddle around with the layout LaTeX produces.

You can use our latex template for your paper.


For including graphics in your paper, you should use vector graphics (unless, of course, it is a screenshot or photo or the like) in the EPS or PDF format (caution: it is also possible to store bitmap graphics in these formats). Always put graphics into a figure environment, provide a proper caption and let LaTeX place the figure.

Literature search

The literature given by us is only considered as a starting point for your work. It is expected that you search for additional relevant literature on your own. The links given in the references for scientific work may help you.

Spell checking

Before submitting any version of your paper, use a spell checker!

Evaluation criteria

Your paper will be evaluated particularly for the following criteria.

  •     Originality (depending on the type of work)
  •     Understanding (you should make clear that YOU have understood the material presented)
  •     Understandability (it should be possible for others with an appropriate background, i.e. another CS student, to understand what you have written)
  •     Linguistic presentation (clear, systematic, stringent, understandable)
  •     Soundness
  •     Appropriate level of detail and overall length
  •     Grammatical and orthographical correctness
  •     Consistent use of terminology
  •     Technical presentation (layout, carefulness)
  •     Critical analysis of cited sources
  •     Independent work


Guidelines for conducting a presentation

General hints

You can prepare summary notes for yourself, but you are expected to talk freely. You should calcute 2 to 3 minutes time per slide. You should practise your talk in front of someone you know before the actual presentation. In this way, you can check if you know what you want to say for each slide, and your auditor can check if there is a main thread, most importantly, and give general comments on your presentation.


  •         Use the same general layout for all slides. Use a simple, clear layout.
  •         Use landscape orientation.
  •         Font size: at least 18pt
  •         Font family: use a Sans Serif Font (Verdana, Arial, Optima, Computer Modern Sans, …)
  •         Do not show more than 7 items in a list on slide. Do not show entire sentences.
  •         If possible, use graphics rather than text to present your content.



    The structure of the talk should be as follows:

  •         Title slide: Topic, Presenter
  •         Outline
  •         …
  •         Summary

    The talk should end with the summary slide, not with an additional “Questions?” slide, so the audience has time to read your summary while preparing questions. The coarse outline should either be visible on each slide in a small scale, or you should get back to the outline when switching between major parts of your talk, so the audience knows in which phase of your talk you are.

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