I have been working very hard on my thesis and I have reached a point with my data where I am required to code.
I am no where near experienced in coding, and there is also not enought time left to learn it.
Simply, the coding is required to re-format the information and figures I already have.
I have used an external source (freelancer) to re-format my data and provide instructions as to how he has done it. I asked for instructions so I could carry out the task myself, and the reformatted data so I could check this against my work. Now, I am not sure if this is ethical and could compromise my degree?
I have not used the re-formatted data or instructions yet - as I am now unsure. I want to ask my supervisor about the ethics of using external assistance but I am unsure if this is a good idea?
In order to re-order my information and make it easier to process my initial formula instead of the manual way which I have been doing (there are close to 980,000 rows), the excel freelancer constructed a macro to essentially do the same work (which I still have not completed manually). I 100% want to give credit, and of course do not want to do anything unethical which is why I am asking here for advice.
What I mean by reformat is creating a macro/code that performs a process. I have been doing this manually and have not scratched the surface considering the large volume of data. The creation of the macro gives the same answers I have been getting manually. So essentially it is not creating anything new, except for the macro. I hope this clarifies things. Again, I do not want to pass any work as my own so I would appreciate any more advice!
What concerns me is that I paid this freelancer to create the macro, a very small fee. Nonetheless, it does not sit right with me. So, What exactly should I explain to my supervisor? Should I mention I have already found someone? Or will this raise suspicion?