Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Science - Methods in Education Studies

Qualification papers

Guidelines on the procedure for writing Master's theses


  1. You are studying educational science, adult education/lifelong learning or on a teacher training programme.
  2. You are interested in a topic that is clearly related to the main research areas of our working group:
    • Focus areas of Prof Dr Hans Anand Pant:
      • Data-based teaching and school development
      • Standardised performance assessment and performance appraisal (grading)
      • Self-evaluation of teachers, student feedback to teachers
      • Promotion of giftedness
      • Implementation of school innovations
      • Effects of teacher training
    • Focus areas of Prof Dr Thomas Koinzer:
      • Data-based school and teaching development
      • School choice
      • Parents and school (educational partnership, participation)
      • Public schools
    • Focus areas of Dr Lars Jenßen:
      • Professional competences of early childhood educators and teachers (especially professional knowledge, emotions, beliefs)
      • Emotions in the teaching-learning context (especially social emotions, performance emotions, emotions of teachers)
      • Pedagogical relationship between teachers and learners
      • Well-being and burnout of teachers, psychotherapy in the educational context
      • Questionnaire and test construction according to classical test theory
  3. We expect a quantitatively-empirically orientated qualification thesis*.
  4. You independently develop a topic proposal based on a literature search or are interested in a topic currently advertised in our department (see below)
  5. You have at least basic knowledge of quantitative empirical research methods and prior knowledge of a statistics programme (e.g. SPSS, R, Stata) or are willing to familiarise yourself with it independently*.

Learning objectives

By writing a qualification paper you should show that you

  • are able to research relevant literature,
  • can acquire specialised knowledge independently,
  • can develop, formulate and answer a scientific question in a structured manner,
  • be able to organise a text structure independently,
  • can design and carry out quantitative-empirical analyses*,
  • be able to present, interpret and categorise empirical findings and
  • are familiar with good scientific practice (this also includes correct citation).


  • Students whose theses are supervised at our department receive feedback on their exposé and are entitled to a further consultation appointment. In consultation with the supervisor, more than one appointment can be arranged. The timing of a counselling appointment is based on the needs of the student. Please initiate counselling appointments independently in consultation with the departmental assistant (Pant) or by email (Jenßen, Koinzer).
  • Prepare carefully for the counselling appointments, make a note of the questions you need to clarify and send them to the supervisor in advance so that they can prepare for the appointment in the best possible way. The following should be agreed
    • Timetable
    • Structure of the work
    • Design of the study/possible data sources
    • Evaluation strategy
    • Any difficulties you may encounter.
  • Following the counselling sessions, please prepare a short protocol in which the main results of the discussion and the next steps are recorded. Send this short protocol to the counsellor.
  • Please adhere to the agreed schedule when working on and submitting your thesis. Anticipated deviations should be discussed with the supervisor at an early stage.


The assessment of your work is based on the criteria for the assessment of qualification papers.


  • Contacting us
    If you are interested in writing a Master's thesis with us, please contact us by e-mail (Pant: please e-mail the assistant Marta Cicuto: cicuto(at); Koinzer: please e-mail thomas.koinzer(at); Jenßen: e-mail lars.jenssen(at)
  • Initial interview
    If the requirements for final theses in our field of work are met according to the information in the form and we have sufficient capacity, we will invite you to an initial interview in which we will examine the feasibility of the project and the fit with our field of work together with you.
  • Sypnosis

    • In accordance with the "Recommendations for the processing and supervision of theses at the Institute of Educational Sciences" (as of 24 January 2018) (, we will ask you to prepare a synopsis after the initial interview in which you outline the intention of your thesis.

    • In the synopsis, your proposed topic or research question should be theoretically derived and clearly formulated.

    • The synopsis should also make it clear how you intend to proceed methodically in addressing the research question.

    • In addition, the synopsis should contain an outline of the thesis, a timetable and an overview of the literature used so far and the literature still to be used.

    • The synopsis should not exceed two pages plus outline, timetable and literature review and should then be discussed with the supervisor.
  • Final supervisor decision after exposé
    • Based on your synopsis, we will decide whether we can supervise your thesis.


*Prof. Dr Thomas Koinzer also supervises theses with a qualitative-empirical focus. Candidates have knowledge of conducting and analysing interviews (content analysis) or are willing to familiarise themselves with this independently.