Researcher Frequently Asked Questions by paperboy

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									      Community and Tertiary
             Liaison
        DECS Research Unit



 Frequently Asked Questions – Educational Research

Approval Process
 1     Who should seek research approval?
       Any individual or staff member wishing to conduct research in the Department of
       Education and Children’s Services (DECS) sites is required to obtain central approval
       through the DECS Research Unit, Community and Tertiary Liaison.
       Inquiries should be addressed to the Research Coordinator, telephone: 8226 2451, email:
       basmayor.elena@saugov.sa.gov.au.

  2            Why is it necessary to obtain approval to conduct research in the Department of
               Education and Children’s Services sites?
               To ensure that research is planned for and conducted in a manner consistent with the
               Departmental policy and relevant guidelines notably the Research Ethics Guidelines in
               order that the research protects participants involved in the research., maintains the
               integrity of learning at sites and provides benefit to teaching and learning.

  3            What is the procedure to conduct research in South Australian public education
               and children services sites?
               The procedure to conduct research in South Australian public education and children
               services sites is embodied in the document called ‘External Researchers Information Package’,
               to access the document please click here: http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/research/

  4            How do I apply for approval?
               To apply for approval to conduct research in DECS sites, read carefully the research
               guidelines and complete the application form contained in the ‘External Researchers
               Information Package’, to access the document please click here:
               http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/research/

  5            Who do I send my completed application form to?
               All applications should be addressed to:
                    Jennifer Stehn, Director, Community and Tertiary Liaison, Department of
                    Education and Children’s Services, Level 15
                    31 Flinders Street, Adelaide, ph 82261740, fax 8226 1815, or email at
                    stehn.jennifer@saugov.sa.gov.au.

  6            If my application has been approved, what happens next?
               When your application is designated as approved, you will receive a letter detailing the
               circumstances under which your research proposal has been approved. A copy of the
               letter must be provided to the principal/preschool director of any site that you approach
               to be part of your research.

               You will also receive a letter addressed to the site manager to introduce you as the
               researcher approved to undertake research in South Australian government schools and
               preschools. This letter advises them that your research proposal has been approved
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      Community and Tertiary
             Liaison
        DECS Research Unit

               centrally but will still require approval at the site level. Site leaders have the right, in all
               cases, to decline requests for the conduct of research in their schools.

  7            Is DECS approval to conduct research the same as endorsement of that research?
               It should be noted that approval to conduct research should not be construed as official
               departmental endorsement of any aspect of research. DECS approval to conduct
               research should not be interpreted as support for the commercial use of an intervention
               or curriculum program, software program or other enterprise being evaluated or
               developed as part of the research.

  8            Non approval
               Proposals which have been rejected may be revised and re-submitted.

Assessment/Review Process
 1     Who is responsible for reviewing/assessing my research application?
       Research proposals submitted by external and internal researchers are reviewed by
       DECS Senior Officers (who are referred to in this document as Reviewers) whose
       recommendations form the basis for approving research proposals.

  2            What is the role of the Reviewer?
               The role of the reviewer is to advise on the impact on DECS sites. They ensure that the
               Department’s research ethics standards are met taking into account confidentiality, duty
               of care and risk management issues and to make sure that the research undertaken is of
               educational benefit such as improvement to teaching practice. For more information
               please refer to the document called ‘Research Review Checklist, which you can access on the
               DECS website: http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/research/

               It should be noted that the Reviewers do not assume a supervisory role.

  3            What are the steps in the review process?
               Once an application is received and completed, it is sent to the Reviewer (who has
               expertise in the specific areas of learning and educational and care services) for
               assessment.

               It is essential that in consideration of research projects, ethical guidelines are taken into
               account to ensure that research arrangements and activities do not impose a risk of harm
               to participants.

               The Reviewer will recommend whether or not to approve the research proposal.

  4            What happens if the Reviewer does not approve the research?
               If concerns/issues have been raised or more detailed information about the project is
               required, the Research Coordinator (from the DECS Research Unit) may contact you to
               address these issues. This is usually an informal process conducted by email or
               telephone and may result in a resubmission of application or a notice that the research
               application needs modification or additional information prior to approval.

  5            What criteria are applied by the Reviewer in considering a research proposal?
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      Community and Tertiary
             Liaison
        DECS Research Unit

               The criteria used by the reviewer in considering a research proposal include the
               following:
                 Benefit to DECS
                 Suitability of Arrangements
                 Protection from Harm or Risk
                 Informed Consent and
                 Confidentiality

               The Research Review Checklist document provides some indicators of what the reviewers
               are looking for to assess the research application. To access this document please click
               here: http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/research/

Administration Process
 1     Who is responsible for the administration of my research application?
       The DECS Research Unit is responsible for processing research applications from
       internal and external researchers and will refer applications to a DECS Senior Officer
       who will assess the project in consideration of the safety of participants, individual
       confidentiality, duty of care, risk management, suitability of arrangements and benefit to
       DECS.

               The unit manages the research approval process and provides authorisation for research
               projects.

  2            What is the approvals timeframe?
               Processing of applications takes approximately 4 weeks.
               The length of time required to review and approve a proposal depends primarily on the
               completeness of the proposal and the researcher’s prompt response to requests for
               clarification or additional information.

Responsibilities of Researchers
 1     What are the requirements that I must adhere to?
       To conduct research on DECS sites, a researcher is required to:
         conceptualise, plan and develop a research proposal which has a benefit to DECS.
         obtain approval to conduct research and inform the DECS Research Unit
            (Research        Coordinator      (telephone      8226       2154      or      email
            basmayor.elena@saugov.sa.gov.au) of any change in the study design or any
            problems arising in the conduct of the research
         obtain approval from site leaders (as required) where research is conducted on their
            site
         fit in with the schedule and arrangements proposed by the site manager
            (principal/preschool director)
         obtain consent from individuals (or from their parent/carer/guardian) participating
            in the research.
         ensure that individual confidentiality is maintained and to ensure that the anonymity
            of students, teachers and schools is preserved
         put in place safeguards and safety nets in relation to any potential dangers/risks.
         provide the DECS Research Unit with research results/findings
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      Community and Tertiary
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        DECS Research Unit


  2            When applying for research approval what information/materials should I send
               to the DECS Research Unit?
               Researchers must submit two copies of completed Research Project Description and Impact
               Statement and Research Undertaking forms. Proposals must be accompanied by copies of all
               surveys, questionnaires and test instruments along with any information sheets, consent
               forms and letter of request to principal/preschool director.

               Please make sure that you provide a copy of the ethics approval from an appropriate ethics
               committee (like for example university, hospital) with your application.

  3            What information must I give to research participants?
               The information to be provided to the participants should contain the following:
                   i. title of the project
                  ii. The description of the purpose and conduct of the research
                 iii. Anticipated benefits to DECS
                iv.   The description of the activities that the participants will be involved in
                  v.  The expected duration of their participation in the study
                vi.   A statement of assurances of confidentiality and anonymity
                vii.  A statement that their participation is voluntary and they may withdraw consent
                      from the project at any time without prejudice
               viii. A description of any foreseeable risks due to their involvement in the research
                 ix.  Details of support should any stress or adverse effects occur.

  4            If there are modifications to be made in the research what am I required to do?
               If there is any change in the study design or any problems arising in the conduct of the
               research you are required to inform the DECS Research Unit by contacting the
               Research Coordinator (telephone 8226 2154 or basmayor.elena@saugov.sa.gov.au).

  5            Am I required to provide DECS with a copy of my research findings?
               The researcher signs an undertaking to provide the results of their research to the
               Department, to the sites and to the reviewer and grants the Department the right to
               disseminate the report within the Department.

               Forward to the DECS Research Unit (by email to: the Director, Jennifer Stehn,
               stehn.jennnifer@saugov.sa.gov.au or to the Research Coordinator,
               basmayor.elena@saugov.sa.gov.au ) an electronic copy of the final research report and
               an abstract/summary of major findings (200 words).

               The DECS Research Unit disseminates information to the Departmental staff and
               schools about the findings of key research projects in which it is involved and for which
               it has provided formal approval.

Responsibilities of the DECS Research Unit
 1     What is the DECS Research Unit?
       The DECS Research Unit (DRU) is responsible for the management of the research
       approval process within DECS and for establishing, implementing and monitoring the
       guidelines for conducting research in public education and children’s services sites.
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      Community and Tertiary
             Liaison
        DECS Research Unit


               The DRU is staffed by the Research Coordinator and the Director, Community and
               Tertiary Liaison. The unit processes approximately 150-200 research applications
               annually.

Responsibilities of the site leaders (Principal/Pre School Director)
 1     What are the responsibilities of the principal/preschool Director?
        To ensure that any research conducted on their site is of educational benefit
        Research is approved by the DECS Research Unit
        Fits in with the schedule and arrangements of the site
        Has consent of individuals (or their parent/carer/guardian)
        The anonymity of students, teachers and the school is protected.




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