Writing a Thesis with a Company
Citavi Support team member Jana works every day to make your academic research easier. Her journey to Swiss Academic Software started with the decision to write her master's thesis in a company. In the interview below she talks about making the decision, finding a topic, carrying out research, and how her thesis continues to help her in her job today
How did your thesis help you get where you are today?
When I was looking for a thesis topic for my Master's Degree program in Information Science, I asked Swiss Academic Software if I could write my thesis on the use of Citavi and if the company would support me with additional information. Other reference management programs also would have been interesting for me. However, I had already had contact with the Citavi Support team in the past as a Citavi user, and the employees seemed so nice!
The reply to my thesis inquiry was just as friendly and positive.
I met with COO Hans Siem Schweiger for coffee in Hamburg and after that the idea became reality. After I finished my thesis, there just happened to be a position free in the Citavi Support team.
How did you choose what to write about for your thesis?
At the beginning of 2015 I needed to find a topic for my thesis, which was a big challenge. During my studies, it became more and more clear for me which direction I wanted to take. IT interested me the most.
While searching for possible topics I went through databases that presented topics for theses written in conjunction with companies. Unfortunately, none of the topics really fit or interested me.
I wasn't interested in theory for its own sake. Instead, I wanted to work on something practical and base my thesis on that experience. I wanted my results to make a difference – not only for my own graduation but also for the company's benefit.
Helping others is part of my personality. Throughout my life, I've always wanted to help other people. However, since I can't stand the sight of blood, medical fields weren't an option.
Helping others in an educational context seemed interesting, especially being able to help people who then might in turn help others or even our society. That seemed like the right path. Being able to help others use the correct tools for their work is naturally part of that. And one of those tools is academic software.
Even though it was a bit of niche topic, I thought it might later give me the opportunity to be at the right place at the right time and to later find a position that interested me. I decided to take a chance.What did your thesis focus on?
I wanted to find out how Citavi was actually being used. Which features were being utilized and which weren't? Were there differences in how Citavi was being used in different disciplines or between new students and more experienced researchers?
These were some of the big questions that I tried to answer in interviews and through observation.
Broadly speaking, I found that everyone uses Citavi differently!
I keep this in mind when working in our support team. Everyone comes to Citavi with different expectations and levels of pre-existing knowledge.
What's a typical day for you at Swiss Academic Software?
I work from home in Schwerin, Germany. I only see my colleagues virtually most of the time. I spend the whole day helping Citavi users: I answer questions about how to use the software, I create videos, Facebook, and blog posts, and much more besides.
I not only enjoy my work tasks but also the freedom to work from anywhere. In two years I've already moved twice!
Would you change anything if you could do it all again?
Looking back I've never regretted getting out of my comfort zone and approaching companies directly. The worst that can happen is that the company says no. But with some luck you might even get to take the next step towards a fulfilling profession!
We'd like to know: how did you select a topic for your thesis?
Did your thesis open up new opportunities for you?
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About Jana Behrendt
Jana Behrendt, a librarian by training, is deeply interested in everything related to personal information management. However, she does not read as much as you would expect from a librarian. She loves hiking in the Swiss Alps – as lon