HSSH June Newsletter 6/2024

Recent news and upcoming events at HSSH – read more below and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter!


Have a great summer!


In mid-June the HSSH staff celebrated the start of summer with an outing to the surroundings of the Viikki Campus with a walk around Viikki Arboretum, home to both native and exotic trees and other plants – a beautiful place to take a walk right next to the largest nature reserve in Helsinki in Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti. After the walk we explored the secrets of brewing beer at the Cool Head Brewery.

The HSSH staff wishes everyone a relaxing summer! Our regular events, including Brown Bag Seminar, will recommence in September.

We will be back delivering fresh news & events with our August Newsletter.


HSSH’s visit to Aalto Studios at Aalto University


HSSH organized a visit in mid-June to see the status of VR and behavioral experiment technology at Aalto University.

HSSH’s Project Planner Pentti Henttonen organized a visit on 12th of June, 2024 for benchmarking contemporary VR and behavioral experiment technology at Aalto, namely MAGICS and DAVE.

MAGICS is an infrastructure and a community for science and art related to socially sustainable digitalization and virtualization with new XR technologies and AI solutions accelerating transformation towards a virtual world.

DAVE is a new dynamic environment for behavioral measurement in Aalto Behavioral Laboratory, a room resembling VR environment with 180 degree visual angle.

HSSH’s Interlab is a laboratory at the City Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki, and it is dedicated to multimodal individual and interpersonal research in situ or in the field. The purpose of the Aalto visit was to get acquainted with the facilities provided in another university and the possibilities of future collaboration.

It was discussed that more effective collaboration would benefit researchers and research projects, as it doesn’t always make sense to acquire overlapping equipment for each individual project, faculty or university separately.

“During the visit we got a good picture of the current status of the technology available for researchers today. When complex technology develops, it becomes more accessible to scholars from all fields, including the social sciences and humanities,” Henttonen says.


Pictures here!


Citizen Barometer, call for questions – deadline 6.9.2024


The University of Helsinki Citizen Barometer (www.kansalaisbarometri.fi) is a new infrastructure for survey and survey experimental research on societal themes, established in 2023. The Citizen Barometer is a web panel, which means the same people are followed over time and regularly answer survey questions.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki can now use the Citizen Barometer to collect data. If you or your research group are interested in posing individual questions, conducting short surveys, survey experiments, or longitudinal studies with the same respondents, you can now submit your proposals. 

Deadline to submit proposals is 6 September. Data collection is scheduled to take place in autumn and winter 2024/2025. 

You will find the call here (PDF in Finnish, Swedish and English).


Save the Date 20.8.2024 – Citizen Barometer for Researchers Info Session


Citizen Barometer is a new research infrastructure in the University of Helsinki: An online panel consisting of Finnish respondents. The barometer is used to conduct surveys and survey experiments related to societal themes.

Citizen Barometer will be opened to University of Helsinki researchers in September 2024.

Join us on August 20th at 11.00 to learn about the Citizen Barometer and how you can propose your own questions to the panel. The event will be organized in the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities, Fabianinkatu 24.

Further information & registration for the event in August!

Citizen Barometer website (in Finnish and Swedish): http://www.kansalaisbarometri.fihttp://www.medborgarbarometern.fi


Help with data management – Data management manuals for SSH-research published


Multifaceted data streams are continually opening new horizons for SSH fields, highlighting the importance of data management skills and support.

Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH) and University of Helsinki Data Support developed a model to bring general data management principles and guidelines closer to the practical issues faced by researchers, teachers, and students. The project's first tangible outcome is a set of data management handbooks for five types of data commonly used in SSH fields. These handbooks are dynamic resources that provide guidance on data management workflows.

The handbooks were created to help researchers apply abstract or general guidelines to their work in practice. The project identified a key problem: applying general guidelines requires considering both the type of data and the research context. The handbooks delve into the specific issues of different data types in various research contexts.

For instance, interview data requires different handling depending on the methods used and research goals. Medical interview data needs different procedures compared to historical memory interviews.

Data handling is often closely tied to the methodological and epistemological foundations of the field. Data support experts may not fully understand the conventions and research goals of different disciplines, while researchers may lack knowledge of good data management practices. The HSSH and Data Support project aimed to study the interaction between these groups and explore ways to enhance collaboration. This was done by having data management experts "study" researchers' data handling workflows through interviews and observations. The collected data was used to produce the first versions of the handbooks, which were then reviewed by researchers.

"The solutions for collecting, handling, and storing data depend on the type of data needed. The handbooks aim to address data management issues in a practical way," says project coordinator, Data Support Information Specialist and University Lecturer in Musicology Mikko Ojanen.

The first five handbooks, available in Finnish, have been reviewed and tested. They cover survey data, social media data, research-ready text data, registry data, and video/audio recordings data. The handbooks will also be published in English and Swedish at the start of the autumn term.

"The published versions will evolve based on feedback and field changes. We are also planning more guides, covering interview research, ethnography, and experimental measurement data," says HSSH Director Risto Kunelius.

The rapidly evolving SSH data landscape also challenges education.

"The growing handbook collection supports the teaching of modern research skills. The guides are useful for students, who need to understand responsible data management in their theses and future work," says Ojanen.

Data Support has over 10 years of experience in providing data management training. The challenge has been the lack of interaction between support services and the research and teaching fields. This issue is also being addressed in the ongoing project. Data Support's training is not well-known at the university, and researchers and students often don't recognize when they need help. The solution is to integrate data management training more clearly into updated curricula.

The new curriculum period starting in 2026 provides an opportunity to incorporate data management into the teaching of generic academic skills. This issue was also recognized in the implementation plan of the University's data policy center, completed in spring 2024, which identified data management as a crucial academic and professional skill.

"From this perspective, data management skills are comparable to scientific research skills, source criticism, scientific writing, and research ethics," says Ojanen.

Work to integrate data management training into the 2026-2029 curriculum will begin in autumn 2024, in collaboration with Data Support, HSSH, faculty curriculum planners, and Strategic Services for Teaching.

Click here to read the handbooks (in Finnish).

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