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Before starting the thesis

Before starting your thesis, please familiarise yourself with the ethical principles and accessibility of the thesis, and study the information retrieval and reporting instructions. You can also browse the theses already completed in your field using Theseus.

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Ethical foundations of a thesis

When we talk about research ethics, we mean acting ethically and following responsible and correct practices. The University of Applied Sciences has also committed to complying with the Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland guidelines (TENK 2012) of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK). The University of Applied Sciences is also committed to the ethical guidelines for humanities, social sciences and behavioural sciences drawn up by the Board on Research Integrity and to arranging an ethical review in accordance with the recommendation. The University of Applied Sciences also complies with Arene’s ethical recommendations on theses .

The ethical starting points of thesis work are examined in more detail in your own field’s methodology studies.

The key ethical principles related to the thesis and your own activities as a thesis author are the following:

Disqualification

Disqualification refers to whether you have a relationship with the subject matter, its parties or persons otherwise affected by the decision in the matter that may compromise your impartiality. In terms of disqualification, it is enough that impartiality may have been objectively deemed compromised.

Research permit and ethical review for theses

As soon as the topic and method of implementation of the thesis have been determined, it is advisable to consider the ethics of the work with the supervisor, if necessary, and whether research permits and/or an ethical review are required. Sometimes a research permit is also required. Some organisations wish to apply for a permit using their own form, but if such a form is not available, you can use Lapland UAS’s general research permit form . If you study matters related to the personnel and/or students of Lapland UAS, you will always need a research permit , which you apply for from the Rector through the records office.

The theses carried out at the University of Applied Sciences rarely require an ethical review, as the theses of bachelor-level studies do not meet the criteria for scientific research. Theses included in the Master's degrees may be scientific research, especially if they are conducted as part of a larger research or RDI project. In this case, the ethical review is applied for the entire study, not the individual thesis conducted as part of it. However, if the thesis is planned to be implemented in a way that falls within the scope of the ethical review, the student will apply for an ethical review from the Ethics Committee together with their supervisor. More information on the  ethical review is available on the Responsible Research website.
Does a study require an ethical review, and who carries them out?

Processing of personal data (data protection)

Personal data refers to information describing a natural person, their characteristics or their living conditions which can be identified as relating to them, their family or their household. The definition of personal data includes personal data that can be used to identify a person directly, but also data that can be used to identify a person indirectly (tenk.fi).

Read Lapland UAS’s guide on Data protection and thesis 

Public availability of the thesis

A thesis prepared in a public school is a public document (the Constitution of Finland 12.2 §; Act on the Openness of Government Activities 1 §).

The publicity of the thesis may be restricted only in respect of material that is prescribed by law to be kept secret. The decision of the University of Applied Sciences on the secrecy of a thesis must be based on the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), which stipulates that documents containing business secrets (if the concerned party does not consent to the publication thereof) or documents concerning the research plan or basic material of a thesis or scientific study must be kept secret, unless it is clear that the publication thereof does impede the performance of the thesis, its utilisation, appropriate assessment, its researcher or RDI partner(s) (§ 24). The patenting of a possible invention complies with Act on the Right in Inventions made at Higher Education Institutions and general patent law.

According to the instructions issued by the Ministry of Education (2/500/2004), universities and universities of applied sciences must ensure that confidential material is not included in theses, and that theses are public immediately after approval.

It is good to discuss the publicity of the thesis with the partner already when negotiating the commission. The student ensures that the thesis does not contain information that has been agreed to be kept secret with a cooperative partner. If the source material used in the thesis contains confidential material, it must be placed in the background material, not in the public thesis itself.

The student must formulate the research material in such a way that it allows the preparation of a report or other presentation in accordance with the guidelines of the University of Applied Sciences. In the formulation, it is good to consider whether the perspective on the topic allows to make a thesis that contains only information that can be published and how the confidentiality requirements of the potential cooperation partner limit the preparation of the published thesis and how they must be taken into account in the content and presentation of the thesis. Possible confidential ancillary material should be considered in the thesis agreement (see Agreement, YSE and related instructions
 ).

The abstract of the thesis should mention if the thesis contains a confidential attachment. In this case, the attachment is a separate secret part of the background material of the thesis, which remains with the cooperative party.

The assessment of the thesis is targeted at the public part of the thesis, the secret attachment is not assessed
in accordance with the Degree Regulations of Lapland UAS.

The theses are uploaded to Open Repository Theseus, where UAS theses are published online. Lapland UAS provides its students with the opportunity to save their thesis in the open or restricted collection. Works stored in the open collection are free to read, browse and print on the Internet. Of a thesis saved in the restricted collection, search engines will find the metadata and abstract of your thesis, and they can be read by anyone. The PDF file of a work saved in the restricted collection can only be accessed from IP addresses specified by Lapland UAS.

Ethical use of information

Plagiarism

Plagiarism refers to presenting the text or idea of another person in one’s own written work in such a way that the source is not given. In this case, the text and ideas contained therein are considered to have been created by the student. Plagiarism is prohibited by copyright law. At Lapland UAS, all theses are checked for plagiarism through the Ouriginal plagiarism detection software.

In addition to plagiarism, good scientific practice also defines the broader concept of misappropriation. It refers to the unauthorised presentation or use of another person’s research result, idea, plan, observations or material in one’s own name.

Suspected fraud

If the author of the thesis has violated good scientific practice, this will be reported in writing. The matter will be handled in accordance with degree regulations and ethical principles

Examples of good sources for examining the ethical basis of your thesis

Accessibility in theses
Theses published at the UAS must be accessible. The Act on the Provision of Digital Services (306/2019) contains the requirements of the European accessibility act. It also applies to UAS theses that are published in Theseus. In Theseus’s instructions you will find the accessibility checklist, which summarises the main points about creating an accessible thesis. For the thesis report, you will find good instructions on the accessibility of the Word file (e.g., tables and Alt texts of images) in Theseus.


Accessibility refers to the promotion of equality and means that the online service is easily accessible to all. An accessible online service can be used regardless of any disabilities: For example, a person with impaired hearing needs subtitling for videos, but a student travelling in a rush hour bus also benefits from subtitling. An accessible PDF file can be accessed by visually impaired and print-disabled persons via screen reader software, for example. There are a few things to consider when creating a PDF file to make it accessible.

Information retrieval
Information literacy and information retrieval guidance is part of RDI studies in different degree programmes. These provide guidance on how to determine the need for information, the different channels for searching for information, and source criticism.


During the planning and implementation phases of your thesis, you can also make information retrieval guidance appointments at the library
.

You can also find field-specific databases, as well as information source and database guides on the library’s website.

Thesis reporting

Written reporting of the thesis should be started as early as possible as the work progresses. Thesis reporting is a writing process, not a one-time event. Start writing at the beginning of the thesis, and work on your text throughout the process. Follow Lapland UAS’s reporting guidelines. In some cases, the entire thesis report can also be prepared in accordance with the commissioner’s instructions. Agree on this in advance with the supervisors. The report is returned for comments to the supervisor and any commissioner’s representatives in accordance with the agreed schedule.

 

Reporting and references

Regardless of the topic and method of implementation, you must report your thesis in writing. Use Lapland UAS’s template for reporting the thesis. Good writing is consistent, precise and understandable. In reporting, particular attention should be paid to carefully justifying your claims. The thesis text is your own text, in which you also refer to the ideas of others by marking the sources in accordance with the instructions. Direct copying of text is plagiarism and is therefore not allowed. All theses are checked with plagiarism detection software, which identifies plagiarism by searching the reports for similarities with texts submitted to the system.

The referencing guidelines of Lapland UAS instruct you to reference the sources correctly from the beginning.

Reporting methods

There are various methods for reporting in writing, for example:

  • a traditional report
  • a diary (in bachelor studies)
  • a portfolio (in bachelor studies)
  • an article collection

Regardless of the reporting method, the text should indicate:

  • the thesis subject matter and premises
  • the purpose, goal and scope of the thesis
  • methodological and other choices with justifications
  • a description of thesis implementation with justifications
  • the outcome of the thesis
  • an assessment of the reliability and ethical foundations of the thesis
  • a reflection on one’s own learning process

The Master’s programmes’ reporting practices are instructed on Moodle.

 

Reporting support

Regular written reporting of the choices and observations you make during the implementation phase will contribute to the thesis progress. Both the language reviewer and the supervisor provide advice on reporting issues.
Seminar work

Seminar work is part of the thesis process. Notice that degree programmes have different seminar practices. You will receive more detailed instructions for seminar work from your thesis supervisor.

Seminar work is an essential form of thesis guidance. Structuring your own work and providing arguments to others contribute to your learning. By preparing well for seminars you will advance your own thesis process. In addition to the supervisor’s feedback, you will receive peer guidance from other students. It is also possible to discuss the commissioner’s feedback about the work during seminars.

The seminar will address issues raised by the thesis authors, peer reviewers and supervisors together. The peer reviewers shall be appointed in accordance with the practices of each degree programme. Agree and hand over the seminar presentation and  other material in advance to the supervisor and peer reviewer for review.