Are you currently in a research process, for example in a thesis, a research seminar or a research internship? Especially if you are experiencing difficulties, this tool might be the right place for you to start?

It should support you in taking stock of your current research situation. What difficulties are you currently facing? What have you possibly already overcome? What are the next steps?

The process takes between 10 and 60 minutes – depending on how intensively you get involved. The most effective way is to go through the sheet with someone else and formulate your own thoughts aloud.

By the way, you can also do it several times, at different points in your research process.

Evaluation of current challenges
First of all, to locate yourself: In which research phase are you currently? (Multiple answers possible) (by the way, the classification of the phases is from Huber & Reinmann 2019)


Below you will be presented with questions that serve as an impulse for you to reflect on your current situation. You can mark with a cross how you currently feel about it. Some questions might not fit perfectly to your situation, because this tool adresses students in different research situations: writing final theses, term papers or in research projects. You can skip the questions which don't fit you.
There is no AI in the background, you will not be categorized and the data will not end up in an algorithm ;-). You set those crosses for yourself, for reflection.
After each question you will find an alternative name for this question, this way you can compare in the end what currently your biggest challenges are.
You will be presented with four categories, divided into different topics. In all of these, challenges that you may encounter in your research become clear.
On the one hand, you experience what is "normal" - and on the other hand, you can think about what you want to do next.
Your data will only be stored on the website, but you can also have it sent to you by mail. I use this data primarily to improve the method. If necessary, I will also use it to find out the biggest collective challenges with the aim to develop specialized help for them. By clicking the send button you agree that I may use the data for these purposes.


Category I - Research-specific challenges

This category lists challenges that are specifically related to the activity of research.

Topic: Focussing

If you already finished phase 2, the first three questions are irrelevant to you - you can skip them.

Have you found your research subject? Do you want to keep it? (Finding a research topic))
Have you narrowed down your topic enough to research it? (topic delimitation)
Have you developed a research question that is coherent for you? (Develop research question)
Do you manage to stay on your originally chosen topic without getting bogged down in side issues? (Sticking to one topic)
Topic: Basic scientific activities
Can you handle the literature search? (Literature search)
Did you find fitting theory for your research? (Theory)
Can you handle the writing? (Writing)
Do you hesitate to submit your work? (Submitting)
Topic: Data
Do you gain access to the research field or manage to maintain it? Do you get access to your data? (Field access)
If you have or have had any: Do you manage to keep test persons or cooperation partners? (Dropout)
Topic: Methods

Are you comfortable with your data analysis? (Handling data)
Did you decide on what method(s) you want to use? Can you handle it? (methods decisions)
Topic: Ventures
If you change the field of research - can you handle it? (Change of the field of research)
If your research is innovative and there are no patterns for it - can you handle it? (Innovation)

Time for a brief interim review of conflict-specific challenges:

Which callenges currently burden you the most?

Kategory II – Challenges due to lack of ressources

In the following category, all challenges have something to do with a lack of resources - these can be mental resources due to different pressures, time, experience or other.

Topic: Mental burdens
Are you currently experiencing stresses related to your studies, possibly even to the research work itself? For example, the last attempt to pass an exam? (Stressful study situation )
Are there any psychological factors outside of the university that are stressing you out? For example, illness/disability/stressed financial situation/family situation, etc.? (Emotionally stressful life circumstances)
Do you have many tasks in your everyday life that that strain your cognitive resources? Do you sometimes feel to stressed out to work, even if you have the time? (Cognitive Load)
Topic: Time problems
Are your time resources sufficient for the amount of work required? (Too much work per available time)
Are you close to your deadline? Can you finish until then? (Deadlinepressure)
Topic: Things to learn
Do you manage to give yourself a structure in the process? Do you manage to stick to your planned structure or to reschedule if necessary? (Structuring ability)
Do you feel like you can live up to your subject? (Own expectations)
Topic: Lack of experience
Did you miscalculate the workload? (Workload)
Have you experienced bigger mistakes that took a lot of time? (Mistakes)
Do you have an idea about how to proceed? (Not to know how to proceed)

Time for a brief interim review of ressources-specific challenges:

Which challenges currently burden you the most?

Kategorie III – Challenges due to conflicts

Maybe not all topics in this category concern you - for example, if you do not work in a research group or with external collaborators. Then you can simply skip the items and enjoy that you do not have these problems.

Topic: Group conflicts

If you don't do your research in a team, you can skip this field of questions.

Is the work in your research team divided fairly? (Unfair division of labor)
Are you able to avoid mistakes in your research group? (communication)
Do you as a research team agree on a way to proceed and which topic to inquire? (agreements)
Topic: support conflicts
Are you (well) supervised in your research work? (Supervision)
If you have multiple supervisors - do they agree on the expectations? (Supervision conflicts)
Does your supervision often changes her/his mind? (Contradictionary supervision)
Topic: Conflicts with external cooperation partners

If you don't have any - just skip the question.

Are you able to avoid mistakes with external cooperation partners? (Conflicts with externals)

Time for a brief interim review of research-specific challenges:

What conflict-specific challenges currently burden you most?

Category IV – Challenges because you think too much

The last category is a bit tricky, because it's about the little monkey in your head that sometimes questions or has to question a lot of things. But maybe a lot of things here don't concern you?

Topic: Target uncertainty
Do you sometimes doubt your choice of your subject of study? (Doubts about subject of study)
Do you doubt the meaningfulness of your own activity in relation to a social added value? (Added value of your own activity)
(In final thesis) Do you worry weather your choice of topic or your final grade might influence your future in a bad way? (Fear of the future)
Topic: Uncertainty about your own fit with the expectations of others - "being enough"
Do you set higher standards for yourself than you can live up to? (Perfectionism)
Do you sometimes feel insufficient and as if you tricked everybody to get where you are now? (Imposter Syndrome)
Do you have deep-seated beliefs that hinder your successful progress? For example, not belonging at university or being too stupid for the task? (Negative Beliefs)
Topic: Worldview threat
Are you confronted with issues in your research that challenge your current worldview? Are you confronted with topics in your research that limit your personal sense of security in everyday life? (Threat to worldview)
Do you experience misfits between what you expected from science and what you do? (Threat to image of science)

Time for a brief interim review of personality-specific challenges:
Which callenges currently burden you the most?


So, you have now completed all categories of challenges. Now you'll be offered a few more questions to help you think about your next steps.
Again, questions that don't feel conclusive to you or don't fit can simply be skipped.
Note: If you get desperate in the course of editing and realize that you have big problems in your current research situation (which you also can't work on with your supervisor), feel welcome to contact me! (