State of the Art Report Guideline

  • Title
  • Name, Matr. Nr., Kennzahl
  • Date
  • Supervision and Assistance


  • Abstract

    • ​short summary of the content and results of the report
    • useful guiding structure: WHY have I done WHAT, HOW was it done and what are the RESULTS. (What is the problem? Why is it important? What has been done? What are the result?)
    • length: about 300 words
  1. Introd​uction

    • introduction to the general topic
    • background and motivation
    • description of the addressed scientific problem
    • explanation of fundamental terms and basic definitions
    • outline of the manuscript
  2. Related Work (include only, if related work is available)

    • presentation of existing overview literature / state of the art literature in the field
    • what was presented there? what were the main results?
    • is something open/missing?
  3. Method

    • describe how you arrived at the set of techniques presented in the Results section
    • which journals / conference proceedings / libraries / digital libraries / search engines have been searched?
    • what keywords have been used?
    • how many results were obtained?
    • what were the selection criteria? how were the relevant ones selected?
    • which ones were excluded? why?
    • were there any other constraints (e.g., year of publication, particular application area, etc.)?
  4. Results

    • present found approaches
    • find a meaningful organization/structure for this section (not by author or year)
    • use figures to illustrate each approach 
    • was the method evaluated? what were the results?
  5. Discussion

    • critically discuss the approaches presented in the Results section
    • what are the advantages of the presented techniques? what are the disadvantages? what is missing?
    • compare and relate different approaches to each other (what are the differences? what are the commonalities?)
    • what are the most commonly used methods? why?
    • provide a (tabular) overview/summary with a meaningful characterization
  6. Conclusion

    • what can be learned?
    • what is missing in the state of the art? where are gaps to be filled?
    • what are ideas for future research?
  • References

    • all resources used must be cited properly
    • list all references using an appropriate format
    • citation rules


Additional hints:

  • all figures need to be cited in the text
  • self-contained figures & captions : <title>.<explanation text>
  • cite reused figures
  • strong statements need a reference or other scientific justification
  • approx. 20 pages
  • tips & tricks, how to write a great research paper by Simon Peyton Jones
    Microsoft Research, Cambridge
  • Direct citation (word by word)
    Not too long (not longer than 1/2 page)
    It has to be clearly visible which part of the text is the citation
    The text has to be reproduced exactly like the original (punctuation, mistakes)
    Add page number (p.#) [Baumgartner et al., 2001; p.12]

Example of a well-done state of the art paper:

Lam, H.; Bertini, E.; Isenberg, P.; Plaisant, C.; Carpendale, S.; Empirical Studies in Information Visualization: Seven Scenarios, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Early Access
Disclaimer: student works do not have to follow the rigorous standard of this paper completely.