FSD Bulletin

Issue 30 (2/2010)

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


Finnish Social Science Data Archive
Tel: +358 40 190 1432
Fax: +358 3 343 9088
E-mail: fsd@uta.fi

Non-military Service in the Finnish Social Science Data Archive


Miika Halmetoja

The following interview is half-fictional. The interview situation has been staged, but the interviewer and the interviewee are natural persons - or actually one and the same natural person - and the topics the text covers are real. Miika Halmetoja, who has processed data in the FSD for eight months as a conscientious objector, put his experiences on performing a non-military service in the FSD into an interview transcript. During his service in the FSD, Halmetoja has archived several real interview transcripts. When Halmetoja's service ends, the Data Archive will search for a new conscientious objector to replace him.

Finland has mandatory military service for men. However, an alternative non-military service is available for those whose conscience prevents them from serving in the military.

– Helena Laaksonen

Miika Halmetoja | Photo by: Helena Laaksonen


Interview date: 03.06.2010
Interviewee's gender: Male
Interviewee's status: Data processing employee
Topic of discussion: Non-military service in the FSD

Interviewer: X
Interviewee: Y

Other markings:
((double brackets)): Transcriber's comment
[square brackets]: Anonymised/coarsened/removed in the FSD
@text between at signs@: Especially emphatic word or section

((problems with the recorder))

X: ...But now it seems to work. Alright, so thank you [name removed] for letting me interview you in the middle of a workday. Hey, when I came into the door, you had a kind of an acute situation. Could you please tell me more about it?

Y: Well, I was watching a music video on YouTube, and as you came in I had to quickly hide it so that you wouldn't get a wrong impression of my job.

X: You managed it pretty swiftly, well, you have already been working here for 8 months so surely...

Y: Yeah, I have gained some experience. ((laughs))

X: How about your real job? I see you have your own desk here.

Y: Well, my job description mostly includes processing transcribed qualitative research data. So, whenever the Data Archive receives qualitative data from a researcher, my job is to edit them so that they can be archived and given for re-use.

X: Could you be a bit more specific?

Y: Ok. So, first you have to read the received material through and agree on the background information added at the beginning of texts and on the level of anonymisation with the researcher and [development manager]. What this means is that you remove or coarsen personal names, municipalities, etc. with square brackets so that the people appearing in the text cannot be identified, in case the researcher has wished so. Unfortunately, it is often so that removing the identifying information partly destroys the value of the data and may obscure them, so the best situation for the Data Archive and re-users, @and for me@ would be if the text could be left wholly unanonymised. ((laughs))

X: Alright. Seems like a relatively straightforward job, at least on the face of it.

Y: And at best it is. However, each dataset is always different and processing it requires going through several stages and using numerous software tools. Luckily, the instruction I received was very thorough and it was carried out at reasonable intervals.

X: Ok. By the way, how come did you choose to perform your non-military service in the Data Archive?

Y: I stumbled upon the Data Archive on the website of Siviilipalveluskeskus ((a centre where conscientious objectors perform their compulsory general training at the beginning of their service)). When I decided to apply for the post, I wasn't fully aware of the nature of the job, but the whole experience - which still continues for 3 months - has been a very positive surprise. The job is varying and interesting because of different research data, and you can do your work quite independently and freely. In addition, the working community is relaxed despite its expertise, and you often get some good laughs in the coffee break.

X: Yes, this kind of refreshing-

Y: ...Yeah a wind-down moment. With exercise and all. ((laughs))

X: Indeed. What kind of plans do you have when your service ends?

Y: Studying in that [university] Department of Social Sciences would of course be a kind of an objective, but if the doors won't open, I can hopefully utilise the work experience gained here at the FSD in searching for a job in the future.

X: Alright, that sounds good. I guess this was all, so thanks for the interview.

Y: Thanks.


Additional information on performing non-military service in the FSD:
The Data Archive searches for a new conscientious objector to replace Miika Halmetoja. More information on performing non-military service in the FSD (only in Finnish).