Topics for Final Theses
We supervise final theses in the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree programs in psychology and in the teacher training programs. Priority is given to students who attended one of our courses and whose topic is related to the subject matter.
Please contact us, indicating the subject area you are interested in and possible research questions! If we still have capacity and your ideas regarding content seem both interesting and feasible to us, we will advise you on the preparation of your paper. Prior to registration, you will prepare an exposé, on the basis of which we will finally decide on the supervision of your work.
In the following, you will find topics on which the staff of the Department of Educational Psychology currently prefer to supervise papers. However, you are also welcome to contact us with your own topic ideas.
Working on own topic ideas after consultation; possible areas:
- cooperation and communication of learners
- productive failure and similar learning phenomena
- didactic structuring (scaffolding) in the classroom
- motivation to learn
- personality and learning
I can well imagine the following topics; many of them could be addressed with standardized classroom observations, others with the help of document analysis or in small (quasi-)experimental settings:
- Analysis of speech acts and verbal interactions between teacher and students in the classroom (e.g., explicit structuring, relevance cues, question-answer patterns)
- Analysis of teaching practice by comparison with scientifically based recommendations - e.g. implementation of methods such as direct instruction, cooperative learning, open learning formats
- Analysis of tasks, learning materials and/or teaching practice with regard to cognitive activation or the implementation of instructional-psychological teaching/learning principles
- Effect of differentiation-sensitive (= naturally differentiating) learning tasks - on learning gain and motivation - in contrast to differentiating and/or non-differentiating tasks
- Training of certain teaching competencies (e.g. clarity and structuredness of explanations; diagnostic competencies...) in student teachers, if necessary comparison of different theoretically based approaches
- Subject-specific and linguistic teaching and learning in linguistically heterogeneous classes (e.g. diagnostic and didactic approaches to language support in the subject-specific classroom, experiences and strategies of children with low German language skills in the case of comprehension difficulties); here, references to German didactic topics are possible.
You are welcome to set your own priorities in these areas. But you may also convince me of your own ideas! :-)
If desired, the thesis can also be written in English.
Please submit specific (own) topic proposals that you will work on after consulting with me. I recommend that you formulate your topic idea as a question in the process.
Student teachers might deal with pedagogical-psychological basics relevant for school, such as knowledge acquisition, learning theories, characteristics of good teaching, learning process diagnostics, performance assessment, cooperation with parents, etc. Furthermore, it is also possible to orientate the choice of topics on my courses and to deepen individual aspects, e.g. in the area of prevention and intervention in sexualized violence or in solving psycho-emotional problems in school (bullying, dealing with conspicuous pupils, support needs...).
I ask psychology students to develop their own questions that have a teaching or learning reference. The reference can be reflected in the topics studied or in the context of the study (school, teachers as subjects). For example, your work could be in the context of the following topics: education and parenting, learning support and learning therapy, emotional experience in the self-reflective process, self-distance, self-attention, self-ideal and -real, pedagogical-psychological aspects of relationships and partnership, etc.
My research expertise is mainly in the areas of cooperative learning, transactive communication in learning groups, problem-based learning, productive failure, learning with digital media (e.g., explainer videos), and learning-related cognitive load.
If you would like to work on a research question within these topics in the context of your thesis and are motivated to develop and implement a (quasi) experimental design, I am available to you as a supervisor.
- Individual case observation (targeted, standardized observation)
- Classroom observation (targeted, standardized observation of specific utterances or behaviors of teachers or students)
- Document analysis (targeted, standardized analysis of textbooks, task formulations, etc.)
- Teacher interviews (guided interviews, evaluation e.g. with qualitative content analysis according to Mayring)
- Simple comparisons (e.g. between groups of students, teachers, subjects, schools etc.)
Questions often develop like this:
(personal observation, problem, or assertion as the occasion and then one of the following approaches:)
- discover research desideratum and fill "gap
- discover contradictory findings and inconsistencies in the scientific literature and then "investigate" the phenomenon (for MA Psy possibly moderator analysis, otherwise replication).
- application and verification of a theory in a new setting
- starting from qualitative studies (hypothesis-generating individual case descriptions) hypothesis-testing investigation with larger sample size