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Instructions for Master's Thesis

Start of the Thesis Project

The first actual stage of the thesis project is the choice of the topic, substantiated in writing.  It should summarize the following matters:

the research problem / development assignment
the importance of the study / development assignment
the key written sources and previous research (provisionally)
the approach of the study, method, and data
the work timetable
the possible ethical questions and required licenses related to the thesis process.

 

The thesis preparation form is used for this purpose. 

The supervisory teacher of the thesis is assigned when choosing the topic. Correspondingly, the student assigns a person from the commissioning organization to act in the thesis process as the commissioner’s representative, who will also be able to participate in the assessment of the thesis.  A written agreement is signed on the thesis (Thesis Agreement, Appendix 2). The thesis agreement specifies, among other things, the representative of the commissioner or partner, the tasks included in the thesis process, and the compensation of the costs incurred by the thesis process. The RDI goals of the thesis are also specified in the thesis agreement.  SeAMK also allows the use of an electronic signature system (Sign). The student sees to it that the commission agreement is made and they deliver a copy of it to the commissioner and the supervisor.

The student must submit an application for a research permission if required by the commissioner or target organization or company of the study. A research permission is also required for all studies concerning Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, which is applied for online with an e-form. See Appendix 3 for more specific instructions for applying for the research permission.

The research permission is applied for with a free-form letter, and/or the practices if the organization or company in question are observed. The research permission includes a specification of the consent to use the data and the management of the research data. The thesis plan must also specify how the possible participants in the study are asked a permission for the study and how the anonymity of the participants is secured.

The data of the thesis refers to the data collected to reach the goals of the thesis and to solve the problems. Data can be collected, for example, with interviews, inquiries, measurement, or observation.

The ethical planning of data management is an important part of the thesis process. Planning helps determine how the data will be collected, how it will be stored systematically and safely, how research ethics will be taken care of, and what will happen to the data after the study. Consequently, in the planning, all the data-related things must be taken into account, from the beginning of the thesis process until its end. The key principles of data management need to be thought about before the collection of the data, but details can also be specified during the process.

The planning of data management is needed especially if the thesis requires a research permission or an ethical preliminary assessment. The importance of planning is also emphasised when personal data are collected. Moreover, the participants of the study must be informed beforehand, among others, of how the data are processed, how privacy protection is guaranteed, and what will be done to the data after the research process. Careful data management also serves the later use of the data and enables the data to be saved and opened for use by other people after the thesis process. For more detailed instructions on data management, see Appendix 4.

The Finnish universities of applied sciences have common recommendations for a thesis process which is ethical and corresponding to good scientific practice. It is advisable to become familiar with the instructions Ethical recommendations for thesis writing at universities of applied sciences and Ethical guidelines for thesis work – Student's checklist and Supervisor's checklist (Arene, 2020) in the studies preparing for the thesis. The recommendations are based on the legislation and the scientific community’s international and national, research-ethical principles, definitions of policy, and recommendations. The instructions also include clear rules of conduct for dealing with suspected plagiarism.  

Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences has established its own internal process and guidelines for reseach integity in SeAMK's theses. The process is based on the national  research integrity process, but has been simplified. With its own guidelines.

The Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences have agreed to observe the instruction The Finnish code of conduct for research integrity and procedures for handling alleged violations of research integrity in Finland (2023) by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK).This instruction defines, what good scientific practice is, how suspected breach of it is dealt with, as well as the Universities of Applied Sciences are obliged to provide training in research ethics for its students, teachers, and other experts used by them. The Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences have also agreed to observe the ethical instructions for research in humanistic, social and behavioural sciences by TENK and to arrange the ethical preliminary assessment of research in accordance with the recommendations (Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK, 2021). The aim of the instructions is to promote good scientific practice and to prevent scientific fraudulence at all organisations conducting research, including the Universities of Applied Sciences.

SeAMK has an Ethical Committee tasked with the ethical preliminary assessment of humanistic non-medical research and with guiding the ethical development of this research. The ethical committee convenes whenever necessary. (Seinäjoen Ammattikorkeakoulu, 2018) In matters to be submitted to the Ethical Committee, contact Research Manager Seliina Päällysaho, the secretary of the committee. 

The choice of the topic and its substantiation is followed by the preparation of a more extensive Thesis Plan, which is also a development and/or research plan. It specifies the aim of the thesis project, the key working methods, their theoretical foundations, the tools used, and the connection of the topic with the commissioner’s development project. The content of the Thesis Plan is detailed in Appendix 5.

The thesis may be connected with the commissioner’s development project in the following ways, either partially or totally:

a) The commissioner’s development project may be so extensive that it cannot be chosen as the topic of the thesis in its entirety. In such a case, the Thesis Plan must describe the commissioner’s development project as a whole and state how the topic of the student’s own thesis stations itself within the project.

 

b) The commissioner’s development project may include various subprojects. The thesis may be one of the subprojects of the development project or it may include parts of several subprojects.

 

c) The commissioner’s development project is its entirety the same as the thesis. Then, some things from the commissioner’s project plan can be directly transferred to the Thesis Plan. If necessary, the commissioner’s project plan may be attached to the Thesis Plan.


The Thesis Plan is submitted in writing to the supervisor of the thesis. The Thesis Plan is presented at a seminar attended by students and the supervising teacher. The supervisor of the thesis either approves the plan as such or requests specifications, accretions or modifications to it.

 

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