FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

The section below outlines general questions concerning the Chair of Technoscience Studies. 


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  • What does ‘scientific writing’ mean?

    Scientific writing means thoroughly analysing complicated issues and presenting them with reason and objectivity. Scientific work encompasses researching, excerpting, structuring, thinking about different interpretations, and testing theses. The skill of correcting and improving academic insight is central to the process of knowledge production.

    Writing and working scientifically requires being concise. Succintly describe issues and references to familiar authors and theories in your own words. Be as to the point as possible, while still covering the topics in-depth.  

    This may feel time-consuming and unusual at first. Developing scientific writing skills takes time and effort. Associate professor Dr. phil. habil. T. Zoglauer, interim head of the chair, advises even experienced scientists typically write up to one page a day. You should estimate, at a minimum, the same number of working days as the number of pages you aim to submit. 

  • How should I structure a written paper?

    Every written paper contains a cover sheet, body of text, references, and a declaration of academic honesty.

    • Cover Sheet: Includes the title of the paper, author’s name, study programme, number of semesters, and information on the lecture or seminar (module number, lecturer). Download the chair’s Word template (DOT file)* by saving it on your device (open link, then click right → Save as...) and open it as a word processing program.
    • Body: A structured text organized according to its style, purpose, and context. Different types of text include: commentary, scientific paper, literature study, book or film review, essay, article, blog entry, et al.
      • Scientific texts are published in academic journals or books (e.g. papers, comments, or literature studies). When citing other texts, including non-scientific ones, avoid colloquial expressions. Prioritise the correct presentation of arguments and facts. 
    • If you use figures or graphics, a list of figures and tables is mandatory. Additional attachments include interview data or empirical data you collected yourself or that you want to highlight.
  • How do I hand in my written papers?

    E-mailing a digital version of your paper is sufficient. Please use a working e-mail address that accepts replies. Provide additional contact details in case of technical difficulties.

    Please scan your declaration of academic honesty and add it to your paper (see: ‘What should I include in a declaration of academic honesty?’).

    Name your file as:

    [semester]_[1st word of the seminar’s name]_[your name].[file extension]
    → e.g. SS2018_How_Meyer.doc

    If you are asked to hand in a printed paper, please deliver it to the chair’s mailbox. The mailbox is in Lehrgebäude 10, box number 44. This is located in the room next to the beverage dispenser, near the entrance to Zwischenbau VI

  • What should I include in a declaration of academic honesty?

    Every written paper needs to be accompanied by a signed declaration of academic honesty. This confirms that you have independently written your paper. Confirmation is validated by your signature. 

    Find downloadable templates below (in line with RahmenO-Ba and RahmenO-Ma § 12 (9) and § 24 (4)):

  • What kind of texts should I use?

    With the onset of digital media, text production on the Internet has proliferated tremendously, including scientific and academic texts—‘Wikipedia’ serving as a perfect example. Additionally, some journals now publish exclusively online, while other scientists use blog entries to discuss their findings and hypotheses. This leads us to an entirely new intellectual culture, with knowledge becoming digital common property. Previously established methods of scientific quality assurance (proofreading books or journals) are changing. 

    This means the distinctions between what is literary and scientific writing, and what is popular and academic writing, are in flux (e.g. see The Third Culture: Literature and Science (1998) by Elinor S. Shaffer; or "Between fact and fiction: Demarcating science from non-science in popular physics books" (2003) by Felicity Mellor in Social Studies of Science 33, pp. 509-538).

    We consider the decisive criteria of merit to be the verifiable presentation of arguments and facts. This includes context-sensitive handling of historically and institutionally contextualized meanings.

    When writing a scientific paper, pay attention to the type of text(s) requested. See below for a list provided by the chair:

  • Which formalities apply when writing a paper?

    Please note that the following formalities are mandatory when handing in a written paper:

    • Font size: 12 pt
    • Font: Times New Roman
    • Line spacing: 1.5 lines
    • Line format: ragged margin (‘left-justified’)
    • Margin: top/bottom 2.5 cm; left/right 3 cm
    • Page numbers: centered on top


    We urge you to follow these guidelines in formatting texts for submission. This will allow your lecturer to focus on the content of your paper rather than being distracted by its form.

    Correct spelling is essential. Please note spelling conventions according to Duden Spelling Dictionary (24th edition and later or online) for German texts or a standard reference for English spelling conventions (e.g. The Oxford Dictionary). For finding grammatical mistakes within your text, you may also use the spell check included in your text processing program.

    Further notes:

    • Add page numbers and use the same font throughout the entire document.
    • Use 6 pt or less for the space between paragraphs. Think carefully about starting a new paragraph and know its purpose.
    • Select an italic typeface to emphasize. Choose bold typeface only for headlines. Use both typefaces sparingly.
    • Separate citations longer than two lines into an isolated section (left/right margin: 0.5 cm; spacing before and after).

    This chair offers you a pre-formatted DOT file that you may download (Click the link, then do a right click → Save as...). Save the file on your device and open it with Microsoft Office Word or a similar text processing program.

  • Which citation style should I used for my written papers?

    There are a lot of different citation styles when it comes to quoting from professional literature and the preferences vary by departments and chairs.

    At the chair of Technoscience Studies we prefer the ‘Oxford Author-Date’ style. For support, you will find attachments below. Please note that references in your document or paper need to be consistent!

    The university library also gives you access to more information and software licences concerning various literature management programs.

  • How is my performance graded?

    The module grades are assigned in line with the university’s framework § 15 (1), (4) and (5):

    ‘The individual evaluation of module examinations is done by the respective examiners in form of grades.’

    The following grades are used:

    1.0/1.3: very good
    → a very good performance

    1.7/2.0/2.3: good
    → a performance that goes above average requirements

    2.7/3.0/3.3: satisfactory
    → a performance that meets average requirements

    3.7/4.0: sufficient
    → a performance that meets the basic requirements

    5.0: insufficient/failed
    → a performance that lacks severely and therefore does not meet the requirements

    Culture and Technology is one of the few courses of study at the BTU whose module grades consists mostly two partial grades put together (3 CP + 3 CP). One partial scoring is made for participating in one seminar. Both scores should be given according to a scale from 0 to 50 and comprises 50 percent of the complete final performance. The lecturer will hand the grade to the admissions & registrar’s office.

    PointsPercent100706050403020
    Grade
    1.0100–95%100–9570–6660–5748–5040–3830–2820–19
    1.394–90%94–9065–6356–5445–4737–3627–2618
    1.789–85%89–8562–5953–5142–4435–342517
    2.084–80%84–8058–5650–4840–4134–322416
    2.379–75%79–7555–5247–4538–3931–3023–2215
    2.774–70%74–7051–4944–4235–3729–282114
    3.069–65%69–6548–4541–3932–3427–2620–1913
    3.364–60%64–6044–4238–3630–3125–241812
    3.759–55%59–5541–3835–3327–2923–2217–1611
    4.054–50%54–5037–3532–3025–2621–201510
    5.0< 50%< 50< 35< 30< 25 < 20< 15< 10

    By law, the admissions & registrar’s office may not accept partial scores. That is why students are not able to ask for their partial grades there.

    The lecturers manage the partial grades and give them to the students directly. For data protection reasons, they cannot be sent e.g. via Moodle, but the lecturer has to tell the results privately to every student (e.g. via e-mail).

    In fact, partial grades (PG) are sometimes given by the lecturer to the module’s director. The module’s director will then unite the PGs to a final grade which will be sent to the Admissions & Registrar’s Office by e-mail or by inclusion in the exam list.

    The average is calculated as follows:

    • (PG1 + PG2) / 2 ≤ [whole grade] + 0.5 ⇒ round down
      e.g. (grade 1 + grade 2) / 2 = grade 1.5 ≤ grade 1 + 0.5 ⇒ grade 1.3
    • (PG1 + PG2) / 2 > [whole grade] + 0.5 ⇒ round up
      e.g. (grade 1 + grade 2.3) / 2 = grade 1.65 > grade 1 + 0.5 ⇒ grade 1.7


    The academic transcript (‘Studienbuch’) is not used for recording grades anymore. Some students might want to use it anyway to document their studies in a clearly organised way.

  • Where can I check out previous students’ work?

    The Chair of Technoscience Studies owns a comprehensive archive of past internship reports, research papers, and final papers from students. Feel free to ask us for access in our premises.

    For issues concerning dissertations, please ask the library staff of the theses department for support.

  • What is the use of the academic transcript (‘Studienbuch’)?

    Since the most recent study regulations at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, all grades are sent electronically to the admissions & registrar’s office. After that, grades are entered into a data management system and become visible for students on the online student portal.

    Previously, at the Chair of Technoscience Studies, the ‘Studienbuch’ was used as a way to transfer grades from the module’s director or examination board chairman to the admissions & registrar’s office. Students had their grades entered in an academic transcript, which they physically brought to the admissions & registrar’s office where the grade was then entered into the electronic system.

    The academic transcript (Studienbuch) is now used primarily as a study aide to give a picture of students’ academic progress.

  • How do I find a topic for my research/final paper?

    If you have issues regarding your research paper or final paper, we kindly encourage you to arrange a meeting at the Chair of Technoscience Studies! 

    You will find a table of different research topics on the bulletin board. Feel free to pick one—we can help you with elaboration and focus. This equally applies if you already have an idea for your research subject.

  • How is the final exam administered?

    Module 13509 Master Thesis includes 30 CP, consisting of the written paper and the colloquium (RO §23). The preparation time for the paper (from choosing a topic to submission of the paper) is four months. Afterwards, the oral examination (colloquium) is scheduled. You will be admitted to the final exam after you have collected at least 72 CP before application. The traineeship or the interdisciplinary research work does not have to be completed beforehand, although it is advisable. Students may suggest a subject for the master’s thesis to the potential examiner or they may choose from the available list of topics (StPO 2017 §8).

    Module 12194 Bachelor Thesis (StPO 2017, 13348 StPO 2008) is structured in a similar way. At least 126 CP must be collected before admission to the exam is granted.

    Completion of the Final Exam

    1. Finding a subject:
      • The student decides on a topic together with their mentor and announces it in writing at the admissions & registrar’s office.
        The declaration of intent needs to include:
        1. the master thesis’ subject,
        2. the confirmation of your mentor (a.k.a. first examiner).
    2. Admission:
      • The admissions & registrar’s office checks the forms in accordance with the requirements. If approved, a postal or electronic admission for the module will be provided. After this, student and mentor are informed about the deadline.
      • The allotted time may be prolonged if a request is made in writing at the admissions & registrar’s office.
    3. Submission:
      • You will have to submit your paper by handing in three bound copies and an electronic version at the admissions & registrar’s office. With the submission, you need to name the second examiner. Furthermore, you have to attach the signed declaration of academic honesty.
      • A lot of students have their master thesis bound as a book but you may choose a more simple and cheaper mode of delivery.
    4. Grading:
      • Your master thesis will be viewed within four weeks by two examiners. At least one of the examiners has to be from BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and the ‘examiners and observers can be the full-time academic or artistic personnel, lecturers and people experienced in professional practice and training at the University’ (RO2016 §19).
      • The evaluations need to be received by the first examiner. They include a formalised data sheet and an evaluation of at least two pages of continuous text. You should be able to determine the grading criteria from this data sheet.
      • The oral exam (colloquium) takes place at least six weeks after handing in the paper and is open to internal university members (RO §25). If there is a valid reason (e.g. illness, pregnancy), it may take place at a later date. The oral exam, involving your first and second examiner, takes 30 minutes in total. There will be a registrar who writes down the exam’s process. At the close of the exam, the grade is announced, combining 25% of your oral and 75% of your written performance. The first examiner needs to send in the master thesis’ result to the admissions & registrar’s office within two weeks after the colloquium.
      • The student may take a look at the evaluation results. This will be supervised by a member of the admissions & registrar’s office and the result has to be announced within four weeks of submission.
    5. Certificate:
      • The master certificate will be given to you in English and German. There will be three documents (certificate, diploma supplement, deed).


    You will find more information in the examination and study regulations.

  • Where can I find more information?

    If you have more questions regarding studies, exams, etc., check the websites of the admissions & registrar’s office where you will find various important documents.

    For more information about the Culture and Technology study programme, see the following websites:


* Using Mac, you may need to save the file by right-clicking and then downloading the linked file.