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Frequently Asked Questions



I cannot attend a seminar session. What should I do?

Check with your fellow students to see what you missed. If you have to miss three or more sessions in a semester, please consult with the instructor. In small seminars (<7 participants), please inform the instructor in advance by e-mail.

We write response papers in the seminar - how are response papers graded?

Response papers are not summaries. That is, you will not be graded for how well you summarize a text, but for your own argument that you build on the text. To do this, you can, for example, criticize the text (theoretically, methodologically, ...), expand on the text and apply it to new objects, or point to connections between the text and other texts (often: texts read in the seminar).

Four aspects are given equal weight in the evaluation: Formal requirements (e.g., length, style, language), the clarity and coherence of the text (e.g., logical structure), the quality of one's argument, and engagement with the text (grasping the key points of the text and quality of engagement).

Is a particular citation style preferred at the department?

No. It is important that you cite correctly, completely, and consistently. If possible, use a citation style with in-text citations (no footnotes or endnotes), e.g., APA style.

I need to do empirical work in a course. What do you recommend?

For this, it is best to use the R programming language and the RStudio programming environment (installation notes here). Good introductions are e.g. the (free online) book 'R for Data Science', the 'Boot Camp' videos of the Summer Institute in Computational Social Science or the swirl package.


Theses (BA, MA)

I would like to write my bachelor or master thesis under supervision of Prof. Dr. Theresa Gessler, how should I proceed?

Try to fill in the draft thesis form as far as you can and send it to me by e-mail. I will get back to you. For questions in advance, you can make an appointment online during office hours.

What types of theses are supervised at the chair?

Theses should be connected to the research of the chair in the broadest sense. This includes in particular work on democracy, immigration, party competition, digitalization, and gender relations.

Preference is given to work with an empirical approach (qualitative or quantitative). In preparation, the chair regularly offers seminars on the introduction to quantitative social research.