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From topic to text

Academic research is a circular process. You start with a question, and as you proceed, your research reveals different issues and aspects. Academic papers are rarely written in one go, in most cases they are continually being revised and adjusted until they finally reach their final form after numerous revision phases.

You will also most likely revise, delete, or expand on sections of your work as you encounter new ideas that you want to include. Remember, however, to focus not only on the structure of your paper, but also to make sure you start with the actual writing up of your materials in plenty of time.

Here are some thoughts to help you as you get started:

Remember that writing is a continuous process

Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. See your writing as a work in progress that can be changed, revised, and improved as you go along. This will keep you flexible, allowing you to include new ideas and results as you work.

Plan your time

Don’t wait to get started with the actual writing of your paper until shortly before the submission deadline. It’s better to schedule regular short writing periods from the start.

Make a rough outline

Draft a rough outline of your work as soon as you have finished the first phase of your research. This will help you get a better overview of your topic and highlight areas where additional research is needed.

Use correct citation

Make sure you use correct citation methods from the start, citing your sources even in your first drafts and not just when excerpting. Select one uniform citation method and stick to it throughout your work. Having to revise your citations later on can cause unnecessary delays.

Watch your grammar and spelling

Even if you’re just starting a rough draft of your work, write in complete, correct sentences and watch your spelling. This will save you a lot of time later on.


Decide on a uniform format for all your texts, including excerpts, memos, notes, and collected ideas. This will save you the hassle of incompatibility issues between different document formats later. Word processing programs offer a number of pre-set styles and text format options to choose from, which will make creating tables of contents and structuring your text much easier.

Get organized

Make sure to inform yourself of all the formal requirements, dates, and deadlines that apply to writing and submitting your work. The Bachelor’s Student Guide online on the WU website includes valuable information on writing your bachelor’s thesis.

Once you’ve uploaded your work on the LEARN theses page, it will be subject to a plagiarism check before it is accepted.