Before a scientific paper can be written, it makes sense – in many cases even inevitable – to write an exposé. This is anything but easy, since the problem is that the essential information must be summarized at a very early stage and brought into a manageable order.
An Exposé or Exposee can serve not only to prove to the supervisor of the work the own knowledge of the matter and to take him the concern, the work could run in a completely wrong direction. Also for those who want to write the dissertation, the diploma thesis or the master thesis, the exposé is a significant step: on the one hand it offers an answer to the question of whether the topic is suitable at all, on the other hand it also forms the framework with which the individual Chapter can be processed later.
Anyone who takes the task of creating a comprehensive exposé seriously gets an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of his concept. He is better able to plan when and in which way the individual steps will be taken, which will address topics that should only be touched upon and which should be left out in order to identify the right balance between the thematic breadth and the focus on the essentials.
A successful exposé is therefore the first important step on the way to work. What should now, what must and what is allowed in the Exposé? This depends entirely on the requirements of the university or the scientific institution at which the work is to be submitted.
Depending on the extent and scope of the work, in some cases a concise, one-sided presentation may suffice; in the case of large-scale projects such as dissertations, habilitations or even more extensive research projects, the exposé can quickly grow to dozens of pages.
What is essential in any case is the clear naming of the actual problem and, in connection with this, the development of a meaningful research question that sheds light on the author’s interest in knowledge and the goal of the work. In addition, there is a treatment of the theoretical foundations, whereby in the social sciences in many cases a decision has to be made between conflicting theories.
When deciding on a basic theory, the choice of methods is often predetermined, which is also to be carried out in the exposé. As far as possible, the synopsis should already be supplemented by an outline draft, which clearly shows the structure of the work. It should also include a timetable that defines the theoretical and practical research sections.
No matter how much work the preparation of the exposé also requires – the effort is well spent and will pay off later in the copywriting.