The structure of an engineering thesis is as follows:
- Literature review
- Design and implementation
The sequence of sections does not necessarily imply corresponding process steps. You can either take a waterfall or an agile approach.
- In the waterfall approach, you do in fact try to take the sections linearly in time. Then, the evaluation should be defined before you begin implementation. This avoids evaluating only the successful aspects of the work. For us, partial achievements or failures are also of interest and part of an honest evaluation (and they won’t hurt a student’s grade). Once you have decided on the evaluation, please send it to your supervisor.
- In the agile approach, you iterate over the sections as you see fit. The goal is that at the end, they fit together, no matter which way you took to get there. Only at the end may you understand the requirements, and your design and implementation correspondingly may or may not fit them. You should then explain that you took an agile approach and how the sections fit or don’t fit at the time you had to finish up.
The waterfall approach is a good choice if you have a strong (FAU or external) supervisor, who provides you with requirements, and the agile approach is a good choice if you need to figure out requirements yourself. Given the short duration of a final thesis (3 or 6 months), a waterfall approach is the default choice.
See the finished thesis category on our blog. (At present that’s all theses. Need to distinguish types there.)