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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
  • data from surveys and interviews (questionnaires, responses, etc.)
  • work files
  • recordings and videos
  • research diaries
  • notes
  • software and 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:

  • planning how to compile data
  • getting possible research permits, such as the interviewee’s consent
  • storing the data during research (back-ups, data security)
  • planning file structures and folder and file naming practices
  • the correct manner of storing data after the research
  • storing data into an archive, or destroying data once the retention period is over.

It is advisable to start planning your research data and its management already before data collection. Research data management is an important part of conducting research, and it would be wise to include it in the research plan as a section of its own.
The secure processing of research data is also part of good scientific practice.

Ethical guidelines for learning on the Intranet

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 you have considered all different data in data management.
  2. You know that research data cannot be collected without permission, and you have clarified all required licences (e.g. images), and figured out how to ask for consent for data collection (includes all data related to a person, such as interviews, observation, internet forums, etc.).  
  3. You recognise the possible personal data in your research data and you have acknowledged the 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 (keep the original version of your research data separate from the version you are working on, and give the files relevant names).
  6. You keep a research diary or make notes of the changes you make in the research data, stages of analysis, and, for example, what the variables mean.
  7. You know that research data must be retained for a specific time period after the research has been completed, and you know that you are responsible for storing the data, as well as destroying it once you graduate.  

This guide will give you 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: