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Turku University Library

Research Data Management Guide for Students

Research Data

Defining research data may be challenging at times. Research data means all the data that can be used to verify and reproduce the analysis and the results of the research.

Research data may include:

  • measurements or observations
  • data from surveys or interviews (questionnaires, interview answers, etc.)
  • work files
  • audio or video recordings
  • research diaries
  • notes
  • software or source code created in the project
  • source materials collected by the researcher (e.g. biological samples, artefacts, text samples)

What Does Data Management Mean?

Research data management covers the entire life cycle of the data and consists of:

  • planning how to compile data
  • getting possible research permits, such as the interviewees' consent
  • storing data during the research process (back-ups, data security)
  • planning file structures and naming practices for folders and files
  • the correct way of storing data after the research is completed
  • storing the data into an archive or repository, or destroying it once the retention period is over.

It is a good idea to start thinking about your own research data and its management even before collecting the data. Research data management is an important part of research, and it would be good to include it in the research plan as its own section.

The safe handling of research data is also part of good scholarly practice.

RDM Intro tool provided by the University of Helsinki helps you to learn the basics of research data management. The tool gives you feedback after you have answered all the questions.

Ethical guidelines for learning on the Intranet

AI and research data management

Checklist for Data Management

Use the 7 point checklist below to keep track of your research data management:

  1. You know what your research data consists of and have taken into account all different data in data management.
  2. You know that research data cannot be collected without permission, and have clarified all necessary permissions (e.g. use of images), and thought about how to request permission for data collection (all human-related information, such as interviews, observation, internet forums, etc.).  
  3. You have identified any personal data in your research data and you have taken the necessary precautions required by the Data Protection Act.
  4. You know how to choose a secure place to store your research data during the research process.
  5. You know what version control means (you will keep the original version of your research data separate from the version you are working on, and name the files logically).
  6. You will keep a research diary or make notes of the changes you make in the research data, stages of analysis, and, for example, what any possible variables mean.
  7. You know that research data must be retained for a specific period of time after the research is completed and you know that you are responsible for storing and destroying the data even after your graduation.

RDM Intro tool provided by the University of Helsinki helps you to learn the basics of research data management. The tool also gives you feedback once you have answered all the questions.

This guide has lots of tips on what you should do before and after the data collection, and what to consider during and after the research process.

This guide's creation was inspired by real-life events and Helsinki University Library's Research Data Management guide.

Students, do you have any questions related to the content of this guide? Please contact your thesis supervisor.

Supervisors, do you need further information? Contact us via email: