Frequently Asked Questions

Literature research and topic identification

The literature search guide explains in section 3 „Aller Anfang ist schwer“, how to find suitable literature systematically.
The SUB has hier published a statement on the possibilities of external access to literature.
In order to narrow down the topic, a comprehensive literature search should first be carried out. The sections "Further research" present gaps in research which can provide ideas for narrowing down one's own topic.
If there is no access to a journal article, you should first try to find it via another search engine (e.g. Google Scholar). Alternative options, including articles published by Elsevier, are explained on the Elsevier pages SUB. If the article cannot be found using any of these approaches, a new source will usually have to be found.


The guidelines are based on the APA 7th edition. If in doubt, make a proposal and discuss it with the supervisor.

Further indexes (abbreviations, figures and tables)

Detailed information on the glossary can be found in the instructions for writing and presenting your work in chapter 1.4 "Glossary".
No. For many appendices, it may be advisable to include an appendix index (see Chapter 1.7 in the Guidelines for Writing and Presenting Your Work).


See Chapter 2.1.2 'Appropriate quotations', Section 4, in the Guidelines for Writing and Presenting Your Work.
If several sentences from the same source are used in the same paragraph, this must be clearly indicated. The author is given at the beginning of the sentence and the source is added at the end of the paragraph.


  • According to Schau et al. (2009, p. 35) community attachment, brand use, the management of impressions and social networks together generate value for companies. These processes work closely together as a mutually reinforcing process of collective value creation. Fostering many of these processes supports brand communities, but increases complexity and requires greater expertise. (Schau et al., 2009, p. 35).
  • The following comments refer to Schau et al. (2009, p. 35). Community attachment, brand use, the management of impressions and social networks together create value for the company. These processes work closely together as a mutually reinforcing process of collective value creation. The promotion of many processes supports brand communities, but increases complexity and requires greater expertise. (Schau et al., 2009, p. 35).

  • The latter should only be used for long indirect quotations and very sparingly.

If an edition refers to a source whose idea is contained on pages that do not follow one another, this must be clearly indicated. The specific page numbers must be given (e.g. pp. 124, 127, 132); it is not permissible to refer to pp. 124 ff.


  • Thus, in brand communities, co-creations between companies and consumers can result in services with unique experiences that contribute to the emergence of new competitive advantages and fit perfectly into the consumer's environment (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004), pp. 7, 10).

If an internet source without an author is used in the paper, the company must be named as the author and included in the bibliography.


  • In early 2001, one year before the introduction of the euro, there was a marked movement in consumer food prices (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2005).

See Chapter 1.6.3 'Figures and Tables', Section 4, in the Guidelines for Writing and Presenting Your Work.
Online encyclopaedias should not be cited. Instead, definitions should be taken from specialist literature (books, journals).
Yes, English language quotations should be translated. It is important to ensure that the quotation is taken as literally as possible and that no changes are made. If the translation is as literal as possible, it is not necessary to include the original quotation in the footnote.

Writing the final paper

In general, the structure of the dissertation is similar to that of a journal. Details will be discussed with the supervisor.
This is primarily about checking the validity of the results. Quality criteria are criteria for assessing the quality of data collected during a measurement procedure.
There are no specific requirements from the department. However, care should be taken that the Tempus is not constantly changed.
Yes, images must be embedded in the text.
The specific topic of the dissertation forms the basis for the formulation of the main research question (RQ), which in turn consists of 2-3 sub research questions (SQ). The HF refers to the aim of the thesis or investigation. The student can ask him/herself: "What overall question do I want to answer with my thesis? The RQ should contain the main constructs or variables of the analysis. Exemplary research questions can be discussed in the office hours.
In the body of the text, two or more headings should not follow each other directly, i.e. without any intervening text. After a heading, it is advisable to inform the reader of the structure and content of the following sections.


Detailed information on the appendix can be found in chapter 1.7 "Appendix", in the instructions on how to write and present your work. In principle, it should be decided on an individual basis, possibly in consultation with the supervisor, whether and which data should be included in the appendix.
In principle, all SPSS outputs should be processed and presented in the text. However, the content of the figures/tables should always refer to your own statements. Otherwise, SPSS files will only be submitted in digital form. Please make sure that both the raw files and the final data file are attached, as well as the SPSS output and syntax (see also "How and where do I hand in my seminar, bachelor or master thesis or my project report?)


On the homepage of the Chair of Retailing you will find a guide to writing scientific papers as well as a guide to researching literature. To download the respective PDF, please click on the corresponding link on the homepage.
The department recommends the following textbooks and journal articles for academic work:

  • Barley, S. R. (2006). When I write my masterpiece: Thoughts on what makes a paper interesting. Academy of Management Journal, 49(1), 16-20.
  • Franck, N., & Stary, J. (2013). Die Technik wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens: Eine praktische Anleitung (17th rev. ed.). Paderborn: Schöningh.
  • Gastel, B., & Day, R. A. (2016). How to write and publish a scientific paper (8th. rev. ed.). Santa Barbara: Greenwood.
  • Limburg, A., & Otten, S. (2011). Schreiben in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften (1st ed.). Paderborn: Schöningh.
  • Pollock, T. G., & Bono, J. E. (2013). Being Scheherazade: The importance of storytelling in academic writing. Academy of Management Journal, 56(3), 629–634.
  • Theisen, M. R. (2017). Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten: erfolgreich bei Bachelor- und Masterarbeit (16th. rev. Ed.). München: Vahlen.

For information on the maximum number of pages, please refer to Section 3.2 'Volume' in the Guidelines for Writing and Presenting Your Work.
Graphics or tables do not count towards the number of pages of text.

Notification of illness

If the student falls ill during the course of the dissertation, the matter must be clarified with the Examinations Office. If the work is interrupted or prolonged as a result, the supervisor must be informed.


The work must be submitted to the Examinations Office by the deadline for submission. This means that the assignment can be submitted earlier.
If the student requires early confirmation that the thesis has been passed, this should be discussed in advance with the supervisor. Usually the supervisor needs some time to read the thesis (at least two weeks) before a confirmation can be given. For this reason, it is advisable to include the processing time in the submission deadline and to ask the supervisor in good time.
If the assignment is to be completed or revised across semesters, details of the deadlines for the refund of tuition fees are to be clarified with the Examinations Office. In principle, it is the student's own responsibility to adhere to the deadlines and is not the responsibility of the department.
For information on submitting seminar, bachelor or master theses, please refer to the Guidelines for Writing and Presenting Written Work in Chapter 3, General Information.