SMUS PhD day


by Prof. Dr. Gabriela Christmann, Professor of Sociology, Technische Universität Berlin

July 23, 2024, 11:00 am – 3:30 pm


Brief outline of the program:

At the beginning of a dissertation project, doctoral students are faced with many questions: What are the requirements for a dissertation? What is the difference between a cumulative and a monographic Ph.D. thesis? How to prepare a Ph.D. project? What decisions need to be made to profile the research project in a convincing way and at the same time to narrow it down thematically, in order to make it feasible? Other questions are: Why do I need an exposé before I can be accepted as a PhD student? What is an exposé and how must it be written? Finally, since issues of good scientific practice are of paramount importance, what needs to be considered here?

What the Ph.D. day has to offer:

The Ph.D. day provides answers to all these questions. In the first half of the event, along a kind of checklist, all central steps and procedures in the preparation of a doctoral project and the writing of an exposé are named and explained in detail. Within this framework, the following issues are addressed: the delimitation of the object of research, the determination of the scientific (and societal) importance of the work, the elaboration of the state of research on the subject matter, the formulation of research questions (and hypotheses), the selection of theoretical approaches, decisions regarding case selection, the selection of the method(s) of empirical research for data collection and data analysis and the development of the research instrument(s), the implementation of fieldwork with pretest and data collection, the data processing, data analysis and data interpretation, but also the preparation of a time schedule for the research project.

The second part of the event, which deals with good scientific practice, will cover topics such as: ethical issues, consent forms for research participants, data protection and data management, and avoiding plagiarism.

Target group:

The Ph.D. day is aimed at Master students who are about to graduate and Ph.D. students who are still at the beginning of their work.


The desired outcome of the Ph.D. day is that the participants feel well informed and fully oriented with regard to the questions mentioned above. They will be given a “checklist” with which they can carry out the – extremely important – preparatory phase of a dissertation project and profile their empirical research proposal. Furthermore, they will see themselves in a position to write a meaningful exposé that can meet the high expectations that supervisors worldwide have of such a written research plan. They will also be able to conduct research according to the rules of good scientific practice.


11:00 – 11:10 am               Welcome and introduction to the program

11:10 – 12:30 pm               Presentation on how to prepare an empirical Ph.D. research project and to write an exposé

12:30 – 1:00 pm                 Questions and answers

1:00 – 2:00 pm                   Break

2:00 – 3:00 pm                   Rules of good scientific practice

3:00 – 3:30 pm                   Questions and answers