Research Design: How to tackle a Master’s Thesis

Lecturer (assistant)
  • Rolf Moeckel [L]
Duration3 SWS
TermSommersemester 2020
Language of instructionEnglish
Position within curriculaSee TUMonline
DatesSee TUMonline


Admission information

See TUMonline
Note: Final semester and ready to work on Master Thesis


Course objectives: • Understand principles of scientific inquiry and scientific methods. • Assemble, organize, and summarize a well-defined body of literature. • Write a sound and coherent research proposal. • Defend your topic in a presentation. • Review, design, and conduct quantitative and qualitative research. • Review, design, and conduct case study and survey research. • Prepare yourself to present a paper at an academic conference. • Review an article submitted for publication in an academic journal. • Find potential sources of research funding.


Writing a good master thesis is challenging. The research question needs to be solid, the literature review has to summarize the state of the art and identify which gap you intend to fill, and most importantly the research methods must be defendable. That’s plenty to accomplish within one semester. The purpose of the course is to help you design, conduct, publish, defend, and present quality research in engineering fields. Because research in engineering includes many diverse subfields, research design varies widely. Therefore, we will address a range of topics that will help you refine (and in some cases broaden) your research approach.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods: This is not a traditional top-down lecture, but students are expected to actively engage with the materials. Readings will be provided, which students are asked to work through before class. Students also need to submit a literature review on her or his respective topic to show the ability to condense work previously published into a solid review. Last but not least, students will be asked to prepare short presentations on selected topics.


Grading: Students are asked to submit a written literature review of their respective topic.