Guidelines for students’ collection of data

During their education in Political Science/Social Sciences, students conduct a large number of studies, for instance via questionnaires or interviews. It is a crucial element in the education that students are able to gather their own data. However, it is also important to weigh the need to collect own data, and all studies obviously have to comply with existing rules and good research practice. The students collect data on their own responsibility, and these guidelines specify the Department’s requirements to data collection by students in connection with their studies.

1. Proportionality in data collection. Researchers and students at the Department generally conduct large quantities of surveys and other types of data collection. It is therefore important that the scope of the studies you plan are proportional to the purpose. Always consider whether you have to gather new material or whether existing data serves your purposes. When you consider proportionality, please weigh the target group’s time consumption against its benefits of the study via the planned dissemination. A stricter interpretation of the proportionality principle must be applied to students’ use of questionnaire surveys. Very large questionnaire surveys should always be avoided.

2. Information about sender. The following information must be clearly stated in the cover letter or introduction: Who is in charge of the study; intended use of the data; sender’s contact information; the data is being collected for a student project. Do not use the University’s or the Department’s logo.

3. Information about the study. Make a true description of the academic purpose of the study. The overall question(s) examined in the study must be clear to the participants. Make sure that description and questions match.

4. Correct language. The Department is inevitably linked to such studies, and students must use correct and proper language in written communication.

5. Information about processing of data. Make sure that you consider in advance how you want to process the data and make this clear in the invitation. If you choose full anonymity, it has to be impossible – also for the students who conduct the study – to link the participants’ identity and their responses. If you indicate that data will only be used in anonymized form, it must be impossible for everyone but those who conduct the study to identify the participants, for instance by linking responses to different questions.

6. Compliance. All studies obviously have to comply with existing rules, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Students are obligated to keep updated on the regulation at the website of the Danish Data Protection Agency. Students are also obligated to consult the University guidelines on GDPR for students.

7. Always discuss the relevant considerations with the project supervisor.