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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 justify and reproduce the analysis and results of the research.
Research data may include:

  • measurements
  • data collected by surveys and interviews (questionnaires, responses, etc.)
  • work files
  • recordings and videos
  • research diaries
  • notes
  • self-made programmes and source codes
  • 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

Check List for Data Management

Use the 7-point check list below to keep track of your research data management.

  1. You know what your research data consists of and you have considered all data in data management.
  2. You know that research data cannot be collected without permission, and you have clarified all required consents (e.g. images), and figured out how to ask for consents for data collection (includes all data related to a person, such as interviews, observation, 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.
  5. You know what version control means (keep the original version of your research data separate from the version you work on, and name the files logically).
  6. Keep a research diary or make notes of the changes you make in your research data, stages of analysis, and, for example, the meanings of variables.
  7. You know that research data must be retained for a certain 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.  

In this guide, you can find the advisable steps to take before collecting research data, and also advice on what to take into account during and after research.



The making of this guide was inspired by real-life events, and the Research Data Management guide of the Helsinki University Library.

Student, do you have any questions related to the content of this guide? Please contact your thesis supervisor.
Supervisor, do you need further information? Contact email