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Centria Guide for Thesis and Academic Writing

Guidance for the final thesis writing at Centria

9 ETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A THESIS

A student at a university of applied sciences has to know the principles of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and follow them throughout the studies. A guide to Responsible Conduct of Research can be found on the pages of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK). TENK is an advisory board appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland giving instructions on how good scientific practice is followed. It also ensures proper processing of alleged violation cases. The board provides expert opinions in dealing with alleged violation cases if the person in question complains about the treatment and asks TENK for an expert opinion. The board does not take a stand in cases of criminal suspicion or professional ethics.

According to the guide from the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (link), the starting points of Responsible Conduct of Research are integrity, meticulousness, and accuracy in conducting research, and in recording, presenting, and evaluating the research results. The methods used in data acquisition as well as in research and evaluation, conform to scientific criteria and are ethically sustainable. When publishing the research results, the results are communicated in an open and responsible way.

The researchers take due account of the work of other researchers and respect their work, referring to their publications appropriately. The researchers comply with the standards set for scientific knowledge in planning and conducting the research, in reporting the research results and in recording the data obtained during the research.

The necessary research permits have been acquired before starting the thesis work and the preliminary ethical review that is required for certain fields of research has been conducted. If the thesis is written in a group, all parties within the research project or team have agreed beforehand on rights, responsibilities, and obligations, as well as authorship, regarding the thesis. Questions concerning archiving and accessing the data later have also been settled.

Sources of financing and possible other commitments relevant to the conduct of research are announced to all parties involved. These are also reported when publishing the research results.

Here you can find presentation material from the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (ARENE) on the ethical recommendations for writing a thesis.

At Centria University of Applied Sciences, the support persons for research ethics are Heli Lauronen and Hanna-Riina Aho with whom issues on Responsible Conduct of Research can be discussed.

Research misconduct

 

Fabrication

Fabrication means that the reported observations are not reached using the methods described in the research report. Fabrication can also be presenting invented results not gained from the research.

Falsification

Falsification means that the reported observations are described incompletely or selectively leading to distorted results. Leaving out results or essential information is also falsification.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is unauthorized borrowing, either direct copying or adapted copying.

Misappropriation

Misappropriation means presenting another person’s result, idea, plan, observation or data as one’s own research.

 

Disregard for the responsible conduct of research

 

Gross negligence or disregard for the responsible conduct of research is for example:

  • belittling the role of other researchers, neglecting to mention them, or inadequately reference to earlier research results
  • reporting research results and methods in a careless or misleading manner
  • inadequate record-keeping and storage of results and research data
  • publishing the same research results multiple times as new results (self-plagiarism)
  • misleading the research community any other way

Source:

Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity. 2012. Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland. Available at: https://www.tenk.fi/sites/tenk.fi/files/HTK_ohje_2012.pdf. Accessed 28 April 2020.

Principles for research in the human sciences are provided in the guide from the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity The ethical principles of research with human participants and ethical review in the human sciences in Finland . The guide has been updated in 2019 and research on human participants is here covered comprehensively, including different branches of science like Humanities, Social Sciences, Technology, Arts, and in parts also non-invasive health or medical research. If needed, the human sciences ethics committee can do a preliminary assessment of the thesis research. Medical research includes also research in health care and nursing, regarding which, preliminary assessments can be discussed with the principal lecturer.

 

A research permit is applied for when the plan is to do research approaching the staff or students of an organization etc. The application is directed at the organization in question and it is recommended to find out in advance what the permit process is like in the said organization. Research permits are applied for in the initial stages of the thesis work and time for the process must be reserved in the schedule. The research permit is needed for example when you want an organization to provide:

  • information from personal data registers
  • information on observations
  • interviews
  • archive material

When information is requested from an organization it is worth considering that this may involve costs.

Research permits are often applied for using the organization’s own form requiring detailed information on the research. If the organization does not have a form of their own, the Centria research application form below can be used.

 

The Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (ARENE) has prepared ethical recommendations for writing a thesis. These recommendations cover research ethical issues when writing a thesis and contains advice both for the students and the supervisors on areas of responsibility and obligations. Presentation material has been draw up based on the recommendations and it can be used freely in self-studies or teaching. These recommendations by Arene include also excellent check lists for students and supervisors. The recommendations have been updated in 2020.

In case the thesis handles personal data (What is personal data), the associated legislation and recommendations have to be followed. If more instructions are needed, together with the thesis supervisor, contact the Centria data protection officer on tietosuojavastaava@centria.fi. Remember when handling personal data, the author of the thesis is considered a register handler and is also responsible for his/ her action.