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Guidelines for Scientific Writing

Term papers, bachelor's as well as master's theses vary in length and depth but share the same requirements with regard to format and style. We recommend our students to read the guidelines provided by the faculty before starting to work on their paper (thesis).

Number of Pages

A typical term paper contains 15 to 20 pages, a bachelor's thesis - 30 to 35 pages, and a master's thesis 70 to 90 pages, counted from introduction to conclusion. Writing a master's thesis is a full-time job and should take no longer than six months to complete.


We encourage you to write your paper (thesis) in English.


You can use either Latex or Word for your document. Word is sufficient, if your paper (thesis) only consist of tables, text and figures. When it comes to math, however, we recommend using Latex. 

For Word users, create youself a seperate title page, which contains title, due date, your name, student number and a reference to this chair. The abstract comes after the title page and should not be longer than 150 words.

Page and chapter numbers are only for the main matter: 1  Introduction, 2 Literature Review, 3 Model, 4 Method, 5 Results and 6 Conclusion. Use a table of contents, a list of figures, a list of tables, an abbreviation index and an index for mathematical notation, each beginning on a seperate page and enumerated with Roman numbers. Include the bibliography after the Conclusion. Optional information can be included into an Appendix which is indexed with a letter. Chapters are enumerated as 1, 2, 3, ...; sections as 1.1, 1.2, ...; and subsections as 1.1.1, 1.1.2, ...

The left page of the paper (thesis) is left blank upon binding the final document. The page size is A4 with margins (top: 2.5cm, bottom: 2.5cm, left: 3cm, right: 2cm).  The header is underlined and includes page number (right) and current chapter (left). Use Times New Roman, 12pt as font.  Use one-half line spacing and leave a vertical space of one line after each paragraph, including the last paragraph of a section. Indent the first line of a new paragraph except after a heading and use justified paragraph alignment. Use chapter headings (new page, 24pt, bold), section headings (16 pt, bold), subsection headings (14pt, bold) and subsubsection headings (12pt, bold).

Tables and figures are enumerated and labeled below. Take a look at other papers to familiarize yourself with the use of tables and figures. Take look at working papers from this chair to get a feeling for good formatting style.

Academic Writing in English

Just like German or any other language, the English language is not just a composition of grammar and vocabulary, and writing in English demands for a different style than writing in German. As an introduction to academic writing in English, take a look at the following website of the Finnish Virtual University which provides an excellent overview of the general principles and rules.



To avoid managing the bibliography manually, we recommend using a reference management system, such as BibDesk (Latex) or EndNote (Word). These programs automatically update the bibliography when a reference is made.

The following examples illustrate the use of references as part of the text body:

1) Peter (2005) shows that the process is normally distributed.

2) The stochastic process is normally distributed (Peter, 2005).

If you refer to a paper with two authors use Peter and Paul (2005). For three authors and more use Peter, Paul and Mary (2005) at first citations and Peter et. al (2005) later on. For more than one reference by the same author in the same year use (Peter, 2005a), (Peter, 2005b). For more than one reference by the same author use (Peter, 2005, 2006) or (Peter, 2005a,b). If you refer to a book it often makes sense to add the page number, such as Paul (2001, p.433). We encourage you to write the text in your own words, but if you really need a citation use quotation marks, such as "The process is normally distributed" (Peter, 2005).

The bibliography contains a complete list of all references used throughout the text. All references are sorted in alphabetical order by authors's name and year of publication and ought to contain the information necessary to find the article.

Paul (2001), Handbook of Stochastic Processes, Springer, Berlin.

Peter (2005), Stochastic Processes in Operations Management, Journal of the Operations Research Society, 24(3), 247-256.

Peter and Paul (2005), Stochastic Processes in Supply Chain Management, in: Proceedings of the International Conference on Supply Chain Networks, Miami, 85-89.

Note that internet sources do not count as references. Please quote the original source, i.e. author, title, institution.


Plagiarism will not be tolerated and results in failing the course. Plagiarism is ...

  • when a student hands in a paper which has not been written entirely by himself.
  • if one or more passages within the paper are taken from another source without citation.

Further information can be found here.


BibDesk is a popular reference management system for Latex on Mac OS.

EndNote runs under Mac and Windows and integrates well with Word. You can purchase the software at low cost from the Central Information Service (ZID).

JabRef is a free reference manager for Latex on Windows and Mac.

Latex Howtos

T. Oetiker (2008), The Not So Short Introduction to Latex

W. Chiang (2006), Latex Cheat Sheet

Carlisle and Rahtz (1999), The Graphicx Package

P. Daly (2002), Reference Sheet for Natbib Usage

M. Downes (2002), Short Math Guide for Latex





Production and Operations Management with International Focus
Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics
University of Vienna
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A-1090 Vienna
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F: +43-1-4277-837952
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