I have been offering a telephone consultation for 3 years and regularly exchange information with students, sometimes up to 12 students a month call me and ask me their questions. I think it’s very good and I’m happy to help. Since I can only help a limited number of students per month, I pour the most common questions into blog articles.

In this article, I would like to address a very frequently asked question: “I have XY in my right, can I do this?”. Examples are:

  • I want to include non-academic sources in my work
  • I would like to do expert interviews before the literature analysis
  • I would like to take a study with it that has only a limited connection to the topic

First of all, the good answer: you are allowed to do everything if you meet two criteria:

  • They justify it sufficiently in the work
  • You coordinate it with the supervisors

I recommend this approach in anything where you feel unwell. Coordinating with the maintainer is quite easy and I don’t think you need any tips. Make an appointment and explain the benefits of your new approach. Now we come to the explanatory statement. Students often stumble here and I want to give some help in form of examples.

Example 1: You can very easily justify the inclusion of specialist literature (not academic) that the study is not academic but can still bring added value to the subject.

Example 2: You want to do an expert interview before analysing literature, because you want to narrow down the subject in this way. Just write it: Due to the complexity of the topic, relevant content is limited by an open interview with experts.

Example 3: You don’t want to define your terms in the basics because there are too many and often only in one place. The important terms of this work are defined on the basis of the only job-by-job use and for better readability in the course of the work.

You realize it’s easy. Just don’t torch around for long and tell the reader very clearly why you deviate from a possible standard and consider other steps. Who has reason in the end has nothing to fear – provided the supervisor of your work agrees.

Image source: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/modell-frau-junge-model-mode-young-2339867/


I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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