DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Required Format for Research Proposals
All requests to conduct research within Durham Public Schools must be approved by the
Research, Development and Accountability Department and follow the format outlined in this
document. The table below outlines the proposal review dates. No reviews of new research
requests will be conducted in the months of May, June, or December. Proposals must be
submitted prior to the review dates below.
Review Date Date by which you should
expect to be notified
July 9, 2010 July 19
September 3, 2010 September 17
November 5, 2010 November 15
January 7, 2011 January 18
March 4, 2011 March 14
Please note: Research will NOT be reviewed in the intervening times. Please plan your
submission in accordance with your intended start dates. You will be notified in writing (via
email) and must show the approval letter to any involved schools principals and departments.
Approval from the Research, Development and Accountability Department does not
guarantee approval for conducting research at any given school or site in Durham Public
Schools. Schools, teachers, and departments may choose not to participate in research studies,
even if they are approved by our office.
Below is the format for research proposals. Please follow the format exactly, including the
numerals and headings.
Format for Research Proposals
I. RESEARCH PROJECT IDENTIFICATION
A. Title of Research Project
B. Name, Address, Phone Number(s) and e-mail address of Primary Researcher
C. Collaborators (if applicable)
1. Major Professor's name and e-mail address
D. Date of Submission
E. Context for Research (i.e., course or degree requirement, grant, specific other)
F. Source of Funds
G. Reason for selecting Durham Public Schools
II. RESEARCH GOALS
A. Brief Summary of Literature Review
B. Summary Statement of Problem
C. Research questions or specific objectives
D. Hypothesis of the study
III. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PROCEDURES
A. Subjects needed in Durham Public Schools and sampling procedure, including any tentative
agreements of school participation
B. Approximate dates to begin and end data collection in Durham Public Schools
C. Amount of time required of students
D. Amount of time required of staff
E. Instructions, instruments, or apparatus to be used (describe and attach copies)
F. Technology to be used (infrastructure, networking, hardware, software, etc.)
G. Specific activities and person(s) responsible for carrying out each activity
H. Student Information Needed
1. Access to student records
reason(s) for access
list specific information in records that is needed
2. Other information (teacher or parent interview about student, etc.)
IV. RESULT OF RESEARCH
A. Benefits and risks to the subjects
B. Benefits to the school(s) and school system
C. Use of information gained from the research
D. How and to whom the data will be reported
E. How does this study relate to DPS’s current research priorities, as defined by the
F. Statement of agreement to forward a copy of the final report to the research committee and
willingness to provide service to staff if requested to do so
V. PARENTAL PERMISSION - Attach a copy of a proposed letter to parents. The intent of this
letter should be to secure informed consent from the parents for their child's participation in the
research. If the study design includes a treatment group and a control group, be sure that the
consent letter is appropriate for either group assignment, or write one version of the consent letter
for potential treatment group students and one version for potential control group students.
VI. VITA - Primary researcher should attach a copy of résumé or vita.
VII. RESEARCH APPROVAL - Statement of agreement to send sufficient copies of the
Research Project Proposal to the affected school principals and participants (not students).
VIII. SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS
A. A letter of support from a research sponsor, if a student (e.g., college/university faculty member,
agency staff member)
A copy of the IRB proposal submission and approval forms
C. Copies of surveys, interview questions, permission letters, data collection instruments, letter
from faculty advisor indicating they have reviewed the study and that it is worthwhile and
properly designed, etc.
IX. ON-SITE RESEARCH MONITOR- Approved research projects will require the
principal's appointment of an On-Site Research Monitor. Please see responsibilities below.
Durham Public Schools On-Site Research Monitor Responsibilities
The purpose of an On-site Monitor is to verify that researchers are following approved procedures
in the collection of data while working in a school within Durham Public Schools. During the
course of a particular study, the Monitor works with the primary researcher, any co-researchers,
school staff members involved in the research, and the Research, Development and
Accountability Department to remain aware of data collection practices and to refer questions about
practices to the Principal and/or Research, Development and Accountability Department.
A Monitor is needed for research that involves ongoing data collection or the presence of a
researcher at a school system site over a period of time. A mail-out survey does not require a
monitor. Ongoing data collection at several schools requires a Monitor at each school.
The Monitor should be a certified, full-time employee of the Durham Public Schools who has no
direct involvement in the study. The researcher is not eligible to be the Monitor. Categories of
employees who may serve as Monitor include teachers, counselors, assistant principals, and
The On-site Monitor is appointed by the Principal prior to, and for the duration of, data collection for a
single research study.
Duties of Monitor
1. Read and know specific procedures that have been proposed by the primary researcher
and approved by the Research, Development and Accountability Department, including
2. Remain aware of data collection procedures actually being used by the researcher.
Awareness may be maintained by talking to participants in the research and/or by
periodically observing the research and data collection work in progress.
3. Refer questions about the researcher's departure from approved procedures to the
principal and/or the Research, Development and Accountability Department in a timely
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should I contact if I’m interested in conducting research in Durham Public Schools?
Contact the DPS Research, Development and Accountability Department. DO NOT go straight to
principals, teachers, department heads, or other school officials! All research in Durham Public
Schools MUST be reviewed by the RDA department and cannot begin without RDA approval.
What is considered research? Any investigation into students or staff in Durham Public Schools is
considered research. This includes all data collection involving DPS students or staff.
What’s the difference between external and internal research? External research is research
requested by agencies outside of Durham Public Schools, such as colleges and universities. It can also
be research conducted by a DPS staff member for purposes not related to his or her job, such as
completing a dissertation.
What do I need to do to apply to conduct research in Durham Public Schools?
1. Submit a proposal following the Format for Research Proposals.
2. Submit copies of surveys, interview questions, permission letters, data collection instruments,
etc. (Be sure parent permission letters are written to allow parents to give full and informed
consent. Include information on who will conduct the research, who will receive the
information, specifically what student information will be collected and why, and a description
of how the data will be collected.)
3. Graduate students must submit letter from a faculty sponsor indicating they have reviewed the
study and that it is worthwhile and properly designed.
Why are all these procedures necessary? There are several very important reasons for the research
proposal procedures. First, instructional time must be protected. Without the procedures, we would
have no way to protect students and teachers from an overwhelming amount of research. Secondly, all
research must be of high quality, aligned with the Superintendent’s Goals, and benefit the school
system or individual school(s). Third, the procedures highlight privacy laws that researchers must be
aware of, and it is allows us to establish clear agreements between DPS and researchers.
How do you make your decisions? The Research Review Committee will review the proposal based
on the following criteria:
1. There MUST be minimal impact on instructional time.
2. The research should be beneficial to DPS or a specific school(s) or department(s). Risks to DPS
and its students MUST be minimal.
3. Research conducted primarily to add to the general body of literature, without significant benefit to
DPS, its schools or departments, may be considered. However, they will be considered low
priority proposals and have a very low chance of being approved.
4. All research MUST be completed before May 1. Research proposals will not be reviewed during the
months of May, June and December.
5. All research must support the Superintendent’s Goals and best practice.
6. All research MUST be legal, ethical, and in line with DPS policy. The privacy of search participants
must be protected at all times. Requests for data involving personal student data and information
about their families will not be approved. (No research involving personal and/or controversial
student/family data will be approved.)
7. Researchers must be qualified to conduct research in the school district. The design and
implementation of the proposal must be well constructed and acceptable to DPS.
8. Any cost to DPS MUST be approved. Generally, proposals involving monetary cost to DPS
are not approved. Research requiring the participation of large numbers of DPS employees,
students and parents is also given low priority status. Research requiring a large amount of time
from administrators, teachers, parents and/or students is rarely considered for approval.
9. Research requiring particular risk for students, teachers, schools, parents, etc., such as, external
research dealing with self-worth, family/personal problems, race, sexual behavior or orientation,
illegal activities, etc. Benefits provided by external research in these areas do not compensate for
the potential risks to participants.
10. Research must be approved by school principals or district administrators involved in the proposed
11. Data collection for a class project of an individual university or college student is generally not
approved. However, observations and archival records may be acceptable. Approval for surveys
will not be granted.
Who reviews research proposals and make the final decisions? The Coordinator of Local
Assessments, Grants and Program Evaluation completes the initial screening of all internal and
external research proposals. Viable proposals are reviewed by the Research Review Committee.
Input from principals, district office staff and teachers may also be used to make decisions regarding
Will I be contacted if my proposal is denied? Yes. You will be notified in writing. You may request
reconsideration of your proposal if you can provide additional pertinent information and/or clarify
information you feel may have been misunderstood during the review.
What happens if my proposal is approved?
1. You will be notified in writing. You will be asked to sign a Statement of Agreement stating the
responsibilities of both DPS and you/your organization.
2. You should contact the principal or district office staff involved in the research. Present your
approval notification and fully explain your research proposal BEFORE beginning the project.
3. Keep in mind that final approval rests with the school principal or other parties involved
4. All meetings with school staff, students and parents must be arranged in advance. Meeting
times must be convenient to and approved by participants.
5. Full disclosure must be given to parents to ensure informed consent. Parents must sign a
parental permission form granting permission for their child to participate in the research.
LEGAL AND ETHICAL RISKS and OBLIGATIONS
The study shall conform to federal regulations, DPS policy and sound educational research practice
that ensures negligible risks for those involved and family/pupil privacy and protection rights. To this
end, the originator of the request shall have the qualifications necessary for working in the school
system as an educational researcher. Specific sections of the law may be found on the internet under
the following headings.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
Office for Human Protection - Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects
American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principals of Psychologists and Code of Conduct
Although case-by-case, district approval shall be granted until specified data collection has concluded
OR for a maximum of one-year from the approval letter’s date, whichever comes first. After one-year
the researcher must submit for approval a request for extension. For any research extending beyond
one school year, the researcher shall submit an annual progress report along with a request for
District approval does not constitute approval for the study to be conducted in any specific school.
Researchers must obtain written approval of principals and others involved, prior to conducting
research in the district. The researcher shall present the Research Committee’s approval letter and
briefing materials to school principals or department heads before or upon an entrance meeting at the
school or collection site. The school or district administrator shall have several days to notify the
researcher or Local Assessments, Grants and Program Evaluation Coordinator if the school/entity does
not wish to participate. The highest-ranking individual (usually the school principal) at the site of data
collection must be briefed throughout the project’s duration in his/her school. Data collection must be
scheduled far enough in advance to allow for adequate planning at the school or classroom site.
If students participate, copies of all approved and completed informed consent forms shall be stored by
the researcher for possible district review. Again, the researcher will be responsible for archiving and
presenting this information upon request. No personal information on students shall be made available
until parental permission forms are secured for each participant.
Confidentiality of student records and all student information shall be observed. The privacy and rights
of individuals and schools shall be respected. Data with student, employee, school, or other personal
identifiers shall not be reported or presented (school identifiers may be reported upon explicit approval).
In addition to maintaining complete anonymity, all personal-identifying data shall be destroyed upon
completion of analysis and the final report.
When conducting research in schools, individuals shall abide by DPS standards of professional conduct
and dress. Failure to do so will be cause for immediate termination of the study and retraction of
The Coordinator of Local Assessments, Grants and Program Evaluation may withdraw district approval
at any time and for any reason. If approval is terminated, all research and accompanying activities
involving the district, the external researcher, and/or the external agency will cease in DPS. Note, the
district does not merge, compile, or collect data for external research, unless required by law or
contractually based. All research approval or denial is determined at the sole discretion of the district’s
research committee. Due to the number of request received throughout the year, denial or rejection
letters may or may not indicate reasons for denial or recommendations for improvement. All research
approval or denials are made on the merits of the information contained in the application. Therefore,
the committee does not contact the researcher if questions arise. The application is the source of
information on which all decisions are made. Again, all research approval or denial is determined
at the sole discretion of the district’s research committee. Below is a sample list of external
projects typically not approved.
Data collection involving a loss of instructional time for students and DPS employees.
Research requiring district resources (DPS employees, students, parents time AND/OR large
numbers of participants)
Research requiring particular risk for students, teachers, schools, parents, etc., such as, external
research dealing with self-worth, family/personal problems, race, sexual behavior or orientation,
illegal activities, etc. Benefits provided by external research in these areas do not compensate
for the potential risks to participants.
Research scheduled to be conducted in the second semester (Jan. thru June).
Upon conclusion of the research, a copy of the final report will be submitted at no charge to the
Coordinator of Local Assessments, Grants and Program Evaluation. A copy of the final report must
be submitted within six months of final data collection. However, if a more formal report is to be
released (dissertation, thesis, book, journal article, etc.), the author shall provide DPS a formal copy at
no charge. The researcher further agrees to release this report for use by DPS without remuneration.
Furthermore, all data and databases are to remain secure at all times. If the school district supplies
extent data or a database(s), then upon completion of the original dissertation, study, or research, the
database(s) will be returned to the Coordinator with no copies remaining. In the event a researcher
wishes to publish using extent data via analyses or methods not originally produced or approved within
the study, Durham Public Schools reserves the right to disallow/allow access to data for further
analyses and reporting. In the event you wish to publish using analyses or methods not originally
produced or approved within the study, and you receive DPS approval, the Coordinator or a
representative will be assigned to work with you as a second author and/or consultant.
Finally, in exchange for the cooperation of DPS, the researcher shall be prepared to assist the school
and/or district through unpaid volunteer projects (e.g., conducing a workshop for staff regarding the
research and implications for practice/policy). That is, the researcher agrees to present his/her results
to the district’s management team and possibly provide personal feedback and a workshop to principals
and others involved in the study.
As the researcher, I understand that I am requesting assistance for a research study. I am not
requesting information pursuant to Open Records legislation. If my research request is
approved, I agree to abide by all existing legal and ethical codes (see above). I further agree to
comply with the above obligations. I assure that the research I perform will not significantly
differ from the research proposed. The privilege of conducting future studies in DPS is
conditioned upon the fulfillment of such obligations.
Questions about research review procedures or the acceptability of research practices should be
Research, Development and Accountability Department
Durham Public Schools
DeShawna Gooch, Coordinator of Local Assessments, Grants and
1817 Hamlin Road
Durham, North Carolina 27704
Phone: (919) 560-2668
Fax: (919) 560-2067