Prof. Dr. Holger Kersten
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik




Writing Academic Papers

One of the requirements for a "Leistungsschein" is an end-of-term paper. The deadline for the submission of the end-of-term paper ("Hausarbeit") is usually ten days before a new semester begins (the summer term begins on April 1, so the deadline would be March 21).


All papers must be word processed on "DIN A4" paper, using a 12 point font, 1.5 spaced with a 2cm left margin and a 4 cm right margin. They must be spell-checked, and to the best of your ability grammar-checked. The length of your paper depends on the class and the type of "Schein" you want to obtain. If not otherwise indicated in class, the Hausarbeit may be submitted in German or in English. If you do not have enough confidence in your language skills, choose the safe option and write in German.

In addition, if on occasion use is made of the ideas or words of someone else in one's writing, then the source(s) of those ideas and/or words must be cited; that is, papers must be fully documented (you must cite sources – using footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical documentation, and complete bibliographic information; MLA format). If you fail to do so, I will regard this as plagiarism and reject your paper. Click here for information on how to document your sources.


You are expected to compose your paper according to academic standards: It must have a meaningful title, a clear organization with an introduction, a main section, and a conclusion. Click here to read more about the structure of an academic paper.


I expect you to find a topic yourself, but it must be approved by me before you begin working on the Hausarbeit. The topic you suggest should be the result of an initial research effort during which you clarify the availability of secondary materials. Moreover, you must have a working thesis and a general plan for your Hausarbeit. Make sure you have written notes when you come to see me. Refer to my internet pages for help on finding a topic.

  An important reminder: My web pages offer a lot information about the techniques of academic work. Consult them before you turn in any kind of paper. If the academic format does not conform to the specifications, the paper will be rejected and not read. Above all, do not quote anything without identifying your source. Passing off someone else's words as your own is called plagiarism, which is an academic offense. Click here for more information on plagiarism.  


Ideas and Structure:
Types of Papers:
More Information:

  Version vom 30.08.2018