My idea of a presentation is that you present your term paper and the reading you have evaluated in this context in the seminar and have a conversation about it with me and the other seminar participants. You should therefore be able to speak uninterruptedly on your topic for about half an hour, but on the other hand, you should also be prepared for the fact that your ongoing presentation may be regularly interrupted by questions, comments and discussions. Do not take this as a sign that things are "going badly". For me, a presentation is a qualified contribution to the seminar and not a mere lecture. Please do not forget to present your topic in such a way that fellow students also have a chance to understand it. Always regard your seminar session as a consultation session in front of an audience, where you can get hints on what could or should be improved in your term paper. Therefore, please make notes on the points of criticism and suggestions. As soon as possible after the presentation and under the impression of this discussion, you should revise your paper and try to implement these suggestions.

The Preparation Process

After we have agreed on a topic, your first step is to search for literature. A sensible literature base is the foundation of every successful seminar paper and a successful presentation and I am of course happy to help with the research. However, on the other hand, the literature search is a central learning goal of your studies and I would therefore like to help you with it, but not replace the entire research. I would therefore ask you to read my style sheet first.

It already contains some central tips on literature research, which I would ask you to take to heart. As much as I am willing to help you and answer your questions, I will be displeased if you ask me things that I have already covered in detail in the said stylesheet.

The next step is to start your own research. Be sure to also use the internet to find references to usable PRINTED literature!

Then create a list of the literature that you have found yourself and that you would use as a basis for your work. Please make sure that this list already fully complies with the formal requirements of my style sheet! Send this list to me as an e-mail attachment in Word (better: RTF) format or pasted directly into the mail text, so that I can comment directly on individual titles if necessary. I will then comment on, shorten and add to your list or consult my own bibliography database for you; in emergencies I have sometimes even scanned and sent whole articles ...

My willingness to help is directly proportional to your willingness to research independently and, if necessary, to identify and obtain literature that is more difficult to access. If you think that you have not found anything suitable at all in your research, then please at least describe to me in detail how you proceeded in your search and where you have already searched everywhere. Be sure to ask the library staff as well!

If you independently find relevant (and new!) literature on your topic that I did not already know, I am impressed and already clearly inclined to give a better censoring. Perhaps you should also know that I ALWAYS look at the bibliography first when correcting. If it is thin, poorly selected or does not meet the most basic standards of form and care, experience has shown that little can be expected from the rest. If you find interesting literature that I don't know myself, I might ask you for a counter-favour later :-) I am also always grateful for scanned articles!

Once we have agreed on a literature base, you can start sourcing and evaluating. When you have more or less finished sifting through your literature, you should come up with a preliminary outline, which you also send to me. When we have also agreed on this, you can start with the actual work.

The length of a main seminar paper should be around 15 pages and the bibliography should not be significantly less than 15 titles. While too many written pages can have a grade-reducing effect, the same does not apply to the pages read ;-)

A week before the presentation, I would like to have a draft of your handout or slides in order to be able to clarify any problems in advance. This will help you feel more confident about your presentation.

Of course, all these steps are optional for you. Just by taking the style sheet to heart, you will be well prepared. I have already given many good grades for papers and assignments that were not written under the close supervision described above, and I am pleased that I had so little work to do and that the result was still so good. On the other hand, however, my experience is that all the papers graded "unsatisfactory" were those whose authors had waived supervision.