Good scientific practice in studies at Arcada
As a student at Arcada, you are part of the Finnish scientific community. Within your studies you receive guidance in good scientific practice and education in professional ethics. In your studies you shall follow good scientific practice when you participate in exams, make surveys and write reports and theses.
Arcada has committed itself to following the guidelines Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland, published by the Finnish Advisory Board of Research Integrity. Arcada’s own document Good scientific practice in studies at Arcada (see below) are based on these guidelines.
It is important that you familiarize yourself with both of these documents already in the early stages of your studies.
Ethical questions in surveys, projects and theses
If the subjects or participants in your survey, project or thesis are humans, it is important that you consider the folllowing questions before you start:
- What risks and inconveniences can the survey, project or thesis cause the participants?
- How important is the information that I wish to gain with the survey, project or thesis in relation to the risks? Is allt the information asked from the participants necessary and can it be acquired in any other way?
- How are the participants invited to participate? Do you give sufficient information to them about the survey, project or thesis and on how you process their personal data?
- How are you managing all the material from the beginning to the end of the project? Who has access to the material, where is it stored and how is it destroyed or archived?
More information on the ethical questions in the thesis writing process can be found in the document Ethical recommendations for thesis writing at universities of applied sciences, with which you as a student shall familiarize yourself before starting the thesis writing process. Useful information about research ethics can also be found on the website Responsible Research.
In studies at bachelor level, the lecturer in charge or the supervisor is responsible for checking that the ethical aspects are taken into consideration in the student’s work. Exceptions to this are theses made within a bigger research project, in these cases a ethical review made by an ethics committee may be required.
In studies at master level, an ethical review may be required, as theses at master level are considered to be scientific research. Ethical reviews are performed by ethics committees and the correct committee is decided based on the researcher’s organization and the nature of the research.
When research involves intervention in the integrity of a person, human embryo or human foetus for the purpose of increasing knowledge on health, the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases or the nature of diseases in general, the research is considered to be medical research. Such research can be performed within nursing science and health science as well as within sports and science and food and nutrition science.
In these cases, ethical review is required by law and the request for ethical review is sent to the ethics committee the hospital district in question. Information about the ethics committees of the hospital district of Helsinki and Uusimaa can be found on the website www.hus.fi.
Research in human sciences
Also research that is not medical reserach but is intended to understand humans and human activities may require ethical review. These sciences include human science and social science but also natural science and technical science relating to humans, artistic research and in certain cases also non-interventional health and medical science.
Ethical review in the human sciences is performed in accordance with the guidelines The ethical principles of research with human participants and ethical review in the human sciences in Finland, published by the Finnish Advisory Board of Research Integrity, to which Arcada has committed itself.
The researcher shall request an ethical review when:
- the research deviates from the principle of informed consent,
- the research involves intervening in the physical integrity of research participants
- the focus of the research is on minors under the age of 15, without separate consent from a parent or carer or without informing a parent or carer,
- the research exposes the participants to exceptionally strong stimuli,
- the reserach involves a risk of causing mental harm that exceeds the limits of normal daily life to the research participants or their family members or others closest to them, or
- conducting the research could involve a threat to the safety of participants or researchers or their family members or others closest to them.
The universities of applied sciences Arcada, Diak, Haaga-Helia, Hamk, Humak, Laurea and Metropolia have founded an ethics committee that performs ethical review in human sciences on master and higher levels. Information about the committee can be found on Metropolia’s website (in Finnish). Students request ethical review together with their supervisor.
If you want to use an organization’s personnel, students, customers or patients as participants in your survey, project or thesis, a research permit from the organization in question is usually required before you can start your survey, project or thesis.
Processing of personal data in surveys, projects and theses
In surveys, projects and theses in which humans participate, these persons’ personal data is often processed. In accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the participants shall be given transparent information about the processing of personal data. A list of the information that shall be given to the persons participating in research can be found in the guidelines The ethical principles of research with human participants and ethical review in the human sciences in Finland, published by the Finnish Advisory Board of Research Integrity.
Arcada’s templates can be used to inform the participants about the processing of personal data. These templates can be found in English, Swedish and Finnish (see below).