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From school through vocational or academic training to professional life, you will always have to write formalized texts. And while you usually write a bachelor thesis only once in your life, texts such as a practical course report or a summary have to be prepared again and again in various contexts. In the following articles we will give you tips on what you should bear in mind when drafting the texts.
Many of our tips are also valid beyond the specific occasion. If, for example, you learn how to collect content for a Master's thesis comprising several dozen pages, how to structure it and how to use it for your own purposes, you will later also find it easier to structure your day-to-day work and even your leisure time.
Statement. Writing a statement is not only on the school's agenda, you'll also have to back up your point of view later. That's how it works.
Summary. What to look out for when writing a summary and what common mistakes to avoid to get the result right.
Summarised content. Step to the step to the perfect summary: Which rules to follow when writing and which frequent mistakes you should avoid.
Factual text analysis. What you should keep in mind when writing a text-based discussion: structure, checklists for structure and content - and common mistakes.
Textual discussion. What you should keep in mind when writing a text-based discussion: structure, checklists for structure and content - and frequently made mistakes.
Poetry analysis. Poetry analysis usually occurs several times in your educational career. What you have to pay attention to in the structure and elaboration.
Internship report. With the internship report you document your practical experience. What you have to pay attention to in the structure and elaboration to make your report round.
Bachelor thesis. Helpful tips for your bachelor thesis. How to find the right topic, how to structure it - and how to solve blockages while writing.
Master's thesis. The Master's thesis is a challenge in scope and content. The best tips for writing, from finding topics to presenting collected data.
Screenplay. How to structure and write a complex script that meets all the necessary requirements - and is actually read.
The opinion is a text in which you have to take a stand on a certain topic and substantiate your opinion with different arguments. Since a statement has to be written by you not only in high school, but also in many later life situations such as a car accident, at work or in a legal dispute, here are some tips on how to best take a stand.
Writing a statement is all about informing another party about your point of view or your position on a certain topic. On the other hand, it is also the aim to convince your counterpart of your point of view. It is therefore important that you argue as clearly and logically as possible and explain to your counterpart or reader why your opinion is the better one. The statement can also be written in several forms, such as a letter to the editor, a comment, a complaint or a request.
Before writing, you should first clarify the context in which your statement should appear and the addressee you have. Should this go to one person or are several parties involved? For example, does an expert or lawyer read your statement, or is the statement important for a large readership, like a letter to the editor of an article?
The second step of the preparation is to get your point across. Think carefully and develop your opinion in the form of a thesis that you want to and can support.
Then you should create a collection of material and collect ideas. If you have a text like a newspaper article, you should read it well. Also with other topics a detailed argument with the topic is important. At this point you could, for example, already collect first thoughts on your arguments, which you then later elaborate in detail in the main part of the statement and build on each other according to strength and logic. As a guideline, you should have defined at least three arguments for yourself that you refer to.
In the introductory part of the opinion, what happens in most formal and informal texts happens. With an introductory sentence you first describe your concern. The introductory sentence usually answers the classic W questions. Who wrote the text? When was the text written? What exactly is the topic of the text? Where was the article published? What is the title of the text? What type of text is available? Furthermore, at the beginning of the text you mention that you want to take a stand on a certain part of the text or fact and outlines your argumentation structure and your opinion on the thesis. In short, you will discuss who takes a stand on what topic and why. In the next step you clarify your thesis, which you will argue in the following main part.
The main part is the heart of your statement. Here you write in detail your arguments and represent so your thesis. When writing, make sure that you start with the weakest argument and then work your way up to the strongest argument. For the length of a text, the guideline is that three arguments are usually a good amount. Of course you can also write more or less, but then there is the danger that your argumentation appears either too thin or too small or that you overwhelm the reader with your opinion. Three clearly structured and understandable arguments are normally sufficient. To arrange the arguments and to see through them better, here is an overview of different types of arguments.
As the name suggests, you are using irrefutable facts to substantiate your argument. This form of argument is a particularly strong way of expressing your opinion and could end up in the statement. The factual argument is so strong because it cannot be disproved because an irrefutable fact is taken as support of the argument.
Example: You need more energy to climb the Eiffel Tower than to climb Cologne Cathedral, because the Eiffel Tower is almost twice as high.
The authoritarian argument is not as strong as the factual argument, but can still be very convincing. Here you can use the trick of supporting your argument with the statement of a certain recognized authority. The more recognized or renowned the reference is, the stronger the argument appears. However, you should make sure that the authority you use is also recognized as authority by the recipients of your statement.
Example: According to the consumer center certain crafts enterprises are not to be recommended.
The indirect argument can be a very clever trick of you to lever out an argument of the opposite side. Because that's exactly what you're doing here. You pick up a part of the argument or text and invalidate it with your own argument. Thus your argument can have a relatively large force.
Example: Many educators claim that comics destroy the ability to read a text. The fact is, according to many scientists, comics often make learning easier.
This argument also belongs to a relatively strong sort, since you are using normative ideas as support for your argumentation. Similar to the authoritarian argument, the power of such an argument also depends on the fact that the norm mentioned is recognized as such by the recipients.
Example: Respecting freedom of the press is one of the basic values of a free and enlightened society.
This form of argument is also relatively strong, but is not based on facts, so here you have to be careful how you phrase it. The basic idea is that you support your argument with an explanation that seems plausible and logical to the other person or reader of the statement.
Example: I always start my working day with the demanding tasks, because I am much fitter and more efficient in the morning than after five hours of work.
The different types of arguments give you an overview of how you can build arguments and sort them according to strength. In the end, of course, there should always be a fact argument whenever possible. It is also best if you almost only collect fact arguments.
At the end of the text, the whole opinion is briefly summarised again. So you go back to the initial thesis and again touch on one or the other argument. Last but not least, you write suggestions how a solution to a problem could look like or how you would approach it differently.
Writing a summary is one of the basic skills of writing. However, many people still don't know what a correct summary looks like. Here are a few rules about what has to be done correctly when writing and what doesn't work at all.
The aim of a summary is to give the reader a good and detailed impression of a text that he has not yet read. The summary should be as short and concise as possible and at the same time still inform the reader well. In order to write a good summary, different steps are necessary. The most important basis is that the summarized text is definitely understood. The drama "Die Räuber" by Friedrich Schiller serves as an example for the different points.
Do: The most important thing is that you read the text very well in preparation. That also means not only reading once, but at least twice, better even three times. In the second round you should also read actively. This means that you should take notes at the edge and highlight important points with highlighters. Think about a certain system in advance with which you feel comfortable and which is logically structured for you.
Don´t: You should never assume that you can capture a text completely if you have read it only once. An unstructured look at the template text is a big problem for a successful summary. The point of a summary is that the reader has a good overview of the template text and then knows exactly what it is about.
Do: Always write your summary in the present tense. This rule applies generally and universally to all similar text forms. Texts written in the present tense are much easier for the reader to grasp and are much more accessible and digestible. A summary is about the reader being able to recognize very quickly what a particular text is about.
Good example: Franz is in love with Amalia and wants to ask for her hand. Since she does not want him and always rejects him, Franz threatens to send her to a monastery.
Don´t: Avoid time changes and complicated sentence structures. Above all, passive constructions and past forms are not conducive to a good text that is easy to consume. In addition, you should avoid writing long nested sentences and setting many commas. After all, you should always leave out unnecessary information and filler words.
Bad example: Franz is very much in love with the beautiful Amalia and has long wanted to ask her to marry him. But since the young thing is always adamant, Franz gets very angry and threatens her again and again to put her in a monastery for a long time.
Do: The introductory sentence or also called introductory part is a very important part of the summary and gives the reader a first orientation. To write a complete introduction, always answer the six major W questions. Who, What, How, When, Where, and Why. If you are following these questions, nothing can go wrong, because you have definitely used the most important information in your introduction.
A good example: Friedrich Schiller's 1781 drama "Die Räuber" (The Robbers) is a play in five acts, written in the epoch of Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress). It is about the rivalry between the two brothers Karl and Franz von Moor. The younger brother Franz tries to outdo his bigger brother Karl by intrigues in order to gain the inheritance of his father.
Don´t: Never use too complicated and difficult sentences in your introduction, because it confuses the reader. The first two or three sentences must immediately make clear what the text is about, who wrote it, when, where and why. Avoid long nested sentences and unnecessary information that can confuse the reader. Inaccurate and unclear formulations make the text tough and boring.
Bad example: The drama "Die Räuber" by Friedrich Schiller is written in five acts, which are also divided into different scenes. In addition, the drama was written in the earlier epoch of Sturm und Drang, in which many other dramas were also written. In principle, the book is about two brothers fighting for an inheritance, whereby one is uglier than the other.
Do: The body is the most important part of the summary. Here you not only show that you have understood the text, but you also bring the core of the template text to the point. Always make sure that you structure the text in a structured way and do not confuse individual points and the chronology of the summarized text. It is important that the reader of your abstract gets a complete picture of the template.
Don´t: What you should avoid in your abstract are quotes and direct speech. Neither has been lost in your text and will create an unstructured picture of the text. A change of time, for example from the present to the past, can also confuse the reader of your summary.
Good example of indirect speech: At the beginning of the drama Karl mentions that Post has arrived from Leipzig.
Bad example: Franz says right at the beginning: "The post office has arrived - a letter from our correspondent in Leipzig".
Do: The final part of a summary is usually optional. This is because it actually summarizes the summary, which is often considered superfluous. You can also give the text a personal touch here. This means that you can, for example, write your own opinion about the text, make a review of the work or write about the style. Be as short and concise as possible and stick to the default of about three to four sentences. Above all, make it clear that the text of the final part clearly stands out from the main part. Make it clear that the text reflects your opinion and not universal knowledge.
Good example: The drama is about a family feud that can be placed in a social context. Franz Moor intrigues against his father's favourite brother Karl Moor. He believes he has been rejected by his father and joins a gang of robbers to avenge "social" injustice. Style and language fit perfectly into the atmosphere of optimism of the storm and urge and thematize the will of the time to revolt against the authorities and the existing system. For this period, the language of the work is regarded as unbridled, which was of great importance for the development of the dramas at the time.
Don´t: Avoid writing too much and too long about your summary. Also in this part nested sentences are to be avoided. If you have decided to make your own statement, do not mix different approaches such as review and interpretation. Make a clear distinction here and don't try to do both at once.
Bad example: The drama is a family drama, which fits also very well into the time at that time. Franz Moor intrigues against his father's preferred brother Karl Moor, so that he thinks he has been rejected by his father and has joined a gang of robbers to avenge his personal injustice. Style and language fit perfectly into the atmosphere of optimism of the storm and urge and thematize the will of the time to revolt against the authorities and the existing system. For this period, the language of the work is regarded as unbridled, which was of great importance for the development of the dramas at the time. Perhaps the author had the intention of being rebellious. All in all, it's drama that fits into our times and is quite easy to read.
Anyone who has ever attended school has certainly had to write a table of contents. But very few people actually know what exactly belongs in a good summary and how it is written. We will explain below how to get your perfect summary and which logical steps you should take.
Summary statements belong to the basics of writing. Not only in school, but also in the world of work, it often happens that you have to summarize certain texts, for example a study, a book or a film. In order for the reader to understand everything, each summary should consist of three clear parts. These are introduction, main part and conclusion. As an example we use a summary of "Die Leiden des jungen Werther" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. A classic that is still read in many schools today.
In order to save yourself a lot of work in the writing process, it is important that you do a good amount of groundwork so that you can make faster progress in writing. It will also give your text a clear structure if you have organised yourself well in advance and have an orderly overview.
Read the text several times. This creates a better understanding of the matter, and often the one or other context becomes much clearer when reading several times. This is because when you read a second or third time you can focus your attention on completely different things than when you read the first time, since you already know what it's all about.
To create a first structure, you can answer the classic six W questions (Who/What/How/When/Where/Why) during the second reading. These are different depending on the type of text, but always a good orientation aid. In a novel, for example, these would be questions like: Who are the protagonists? Where does the plot take place? When does the story take place? What exactly is told? In a scientific text or a study, these questions would have to be formulated differently. For example, there is no plot to be described, but only a specific subject or topic.
In each text there are different people, i.e. names or keywords, which are important and therefore central to the text. Mark these things very well. Not only can you find important scenes or topic fields more quickly, you can also get a better understanding of how the text is structured.
As a further step and for a better overview, you can now divide the text into sections of meaning, to which you can also give certain headings. This allows a quick access to important text passages and a first structure for the following table of contents.
Now begins the three-part work on your summary. First of all, two very important points. First: Summary information is always written in the present tense. Second: Use short and clear sentences. This is the best way to make your text understandable and accessible to the reader.
Each introduction to a summary follows the same principle. As a rule, these are one or two sentences. They say very precisely and directly what the text is about, who the main protagonists are, what the story's plot is and where it takes place. In principle, you are now using the classic W questions mentioned above to write a good introduction. In other words, an introduction should include the title and name of the author, the type of text (novel, drama, study) and the year of publication with place and time of the action, if it is a prose text.
An example for the introduction:
The novel "Die Leiden des jungen Werthers" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe from 1774 is written in letter form and is a tragic love story. The main protagonist is Werther, a young man who falls in love with an already engaged young woman named Lotte. In the course of time, Werther loses himself in this unpromising love story and eventually commits suicide.
The main part is the longest part of the table of contents and demands the greatest self-contribution from you. Here you describe in your own words what exactly occurs in the story or text. Avoid quotations and the use of colloquial language. Also, make sure that you are chronological when reproducing the content.
As mentioned above, you should write your summary in the present tense. This rule is universal and gives the reader easy access to the content. Texts written in the present tense are much easier to read.
Right: The main protagonist is Werther, a young man who falls in love with an already engaged young woman named Lotte.
Wrong: The main protagonist was Werther, a young man who had fallen in love with an already engaged young woman named Lotte.
Direct speech has no place in a synopsis. Therefore, always reformulate if you want to use a dialog in your text.
Right: At the beginning of the epistolary Werther writes to his best friend that he is happy to be away.
Wrong: At the beginning of the epistle Werther writes: "How glad am I that I am gone?
The end of a table of contents is usually optional. Sometimes, however, it is explicitly requested and should not be forgotten. The final part allows the author of the summary to add a personal note or rating. These can be own opinions to the intention of the author or a review of the content. This part should only be short and should not have more than three to four sentences. It is important that it is made clear here that these are the views of the author of the summary and thus stand out from the factual form of the previous summary.
Sachtexte is the text form that we encounter most frequently in everyday life. Whether newspaper articles, package inserts, lists of ingredients or advice books: Each of these texts presents as many facts and figures as possible on a particular subject. In the following you will learn how to analyse factual texts correctly and how to write a really good factual text analysis as a result.
In principle, an analysis is a process that breaks something down into its individual parts so that they can be better named and viewed at the end. The good thing about a factual text analysis is that there is a very clear procedure that you can stick to and that gives you a lot of orientation. How to do this with a factual text is explained here step by step. The following article from Zeit-Online serves as an example.
Some work is needed to prepare for the writing process. However, this makes a lot of things easier and is almost obligatory for a good result. Only if you have really understood the text and the mechanisms and structure are clear can you write a proper analysis.
At the beginning you should develop your own system of how to work with the text. Before you start writing, you should read the text several times and make notes about what you rate and how and what you find remarkable or conspicuous. It is important that you feel comfortable with your own system of markings and characters and that you understand it after reading it. A possible system could look like this.
Question mark at margin: Author raises questions.
Exclamation point at the margin: Author answers questions at this point.
Always look up any foreign words you don't know. This is especially important because you should fully understand the text before analyzing it and writing it.
After marking the text you should now divide it into several sections with your own subheadings. This will give you a better overview of the structure of the text and will help you decipher the author's spelling and intention.
After you have read the text for the first time, proceed systematically. You can now fill the individual passages of meaning that may already be clear to you with your own thoughts - for example, in the title of the text. Write down what you already know about the topic. This facilitates the introduction to the topic and the subsequent analysis.
In principle, a factual text analysis, like most texts, is written in the present tense. So make sure that you always stay in this time.
You start the introduction with a classic introductory sentence, such as the one you use for a table of contents. In principle, these are the classic W questions that are also used in press releases. The introductory sentence should therefore contain the following points.
The introductory part can also contain a classification into the context in which the article or text stands or for whom it was written. The core statement of the text should also be described without quotations and in one's own words. Then you can describe your further procedure and your intention with two to three sentences.
Example: The report "Da lebt was in Ihnen", published in "Zeit Online" on 11.07.2017 and written by Jakob Simmank, is a report about the microbiology of one's own body. The text explains in an objective way how many microorganisms the human body contains and that this is no cause for concern. In the following analysis, I will analyse the text in terms of content, language and style, and highlight its particularities.
Tip: Many write the introduction to their factual text analysis only after the complete analysis. So you can answer the individual questions of the introduction much more precisely than before the analysis.
The main part is usually divided into three parts. First, you should write something about the author's intention. After that it should be about the exact argumentation structure of the author, and in the third part the used language and style plays a role.
Here you should clearly emphasize the intention and the intention of the author. Answer here questions like
Here you should examine the argumentation structure and link it to the intention. The questions you should answer here to write a suitable text are the following:
This is where the study of linguistic stylistic devices comes in. These are also linked to the findings of the first part, i.e. the author's intention. Questions that you can answer here are:
The conclusion is perhaps the most pleasant part of the factual text analysis. Here you can summarize and classify all your findings in short form. Then you have the opportunity to write your own opinion and comment on the text. This is where you can actually do the least wrong, because here only your own view of things is really in demand.