Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Academic Work

Depending on the perspective, writing academic texts is an art, a craft, or sometimes just pure torture.

Sure, writing is hard work. But it can be learned!

Here we have put together a list of tips and strategies to assist with this learning process. They are directed both to students looking for ways to get started developing and formulating their own academic texts and to more advanced junior scholars.


Page Structure and Navigation

Work Steps

Organizationally speaking, the page has a hybrid structure. One ordering principle that can be used for orientation is the intermediate stages on the way to completing the finished text (WORK STEPS). These include formulating a question, excerpting literature sources, and writing a meaningful introduction.

But please do not misunderstand the navigation menu. The sequence of the menu items does not imply that you have to proceed through the steps in precisely the order presented. Neither can it be assumed that the list is complete. The core idea behind this ordering principle is that whenever you are developing a project, a certain step will always have to be completed (for instance, writing an introduction), or can be taken advantage of (for instance, seeking advice). In every case, behind each heading you can find tips and strategies for how to proceed.

Text Formats

The other ordering principle is the genre of the paper or thesis, the complete product if you will (TEXT FORMATS). Here we differentiate between, for instance, term papers, theses and essays. The emphasis of this section is on introducing the special characteristics of each of these formats.


The Basic Ideas

Our web pages on academic work (in sociology) are directed to students in all phases of qualification: Bachelor, Master, Ph.D. The central goal is to give them suggestions and assistance to bring them a significant step closer to producing problem-oriented, clear and argumentative research papers.

Admittedly – the content on these pages have a slight, but clear bias toward organizational sociology. However, our recommendations and assistance can be implemented quite generally, as they are not bound to a single, special sociology. In our opinion. In so doing, the page follows a didactic agenda that bears the somewhat unwieldy name “Publication-oriented Conveyance of Writing Skills”. The core idea is that from their first semester on, students should orient their work on the academic publication process. The models for their work should be academic text genres like journal articles, essays, and also reviews and research reports. As students, they should not be writing for their own sake, but for a broad (specialized) public audience. Writing skills are essential for their professional development – even if this path may lead away from academia.


Sharing Encouraged

We offer not only our own documents for downloading (which, by the way, are free to be shared under the Creative Commons licence BY-NC-SA [Attribution — Non-commercial — Share Alike]). In addition, we refer you to external resources that we believe to be suitable for dealing with issues concerning academic work.


Put academic writing on the agenda!

One more word on the interconnection between academic writing and courses: Should you ever find that you are expected to produce certain texts, although during the course no information is provided about intermediate steps and final products, insist on discussing such issues in the class!

Thomas Hoebel (Editor)