• The October application window has closed. Decisions on applications submitted by October 31 will be sent out in December 2019. Our next window for submission of applications to conduct research in the Boston Public Schools opens on February 1 and will remain open until February 29. Please allow 60 days after submission to inquire about the status of an application.

    Applications will be accepted during the following windows in SY19-20:

    October 1 – October 31, 2019

    February 1 – February 29, 2020

    June 1 – June 30, 2020

     *Please note that these windows may change.   

    New this year:


    Please review the Policy and Guidelines document for information about current proposal requirements before creating your application documents and submitting your application so you have the latest policy requirements.

    The mission of the Boston Public Schools’ Office of Data and Accountability is to serve the BPS community by facilitating access to quality information and building capacity to make data-driven decisions that advance educational equity, opportunity, and achievement for all students. Research is one way to facilitate our community’s access to quality information. It is the responsibility of the Office of Data and Accountability to ensure that  researchers have access to quality data and are able to responsibly interpret the results. As such, the Office of Data and Accountability reviews and approves research that works to advance educational equity, opportunity, and achievement for all students by ensuring responsible access to and use of quality data.

    All research activities must be coordinated through the Office of Data and Accountability’s BPS Research Team. ODA approval is not required for research that uses data that is publicly available sources such as on the BPS public website. A list of current sources of publically available data can be found in the appendix of the Policy and Guidelines document. In these instances, the researcher may use the data presented from these sources as long as the sources are cited and any modifications or analysis done by the researcher are clearly delineated. Approval by the researcher’s IRB and/or BPS school leaders does NOT guarantee approval of research proposals by the BPS Office of Data and Accountability (ODA). While research may be approved by ODA, BPS building administrators have the final say in whether or not their particular school will participate in any given study.

    Who May Conduct Research

    Any academic or professional organization or any individual doing doctoral work may submit a proposal to conduct research with the Office of Data and Accountability in BPS. Doctoral candidates must submit written evidence that their proposed research has been approved by their University’s IRB and will be supervised by their advisor(s).

    What is the Purpose of the Research Team Review?

    While it is necessary for all research submissions to have an approved/exempted IRB decision from their own institution, BPS requires that all research is submitted to the BPS Research Team for review prior to BPS approval. The BPS research review is not duplicative of the IRB process and aims to ensure the following:

    • The research is aligned with district priorities;
    • The research follows federal and local guidelines regarding conducting research with human subjects in school settings (This includes consent forms for all research participants; Assurance that students receive no incentives of monetary value for students and not to exceed $50 for teachers; Voluntary participation for all research subjects);
    • The research is not overly burdensome to classrooms and is new research that will advance the aims of the district; and
    • The research is fully supported by an internal BPS staff member (district sponsor) who is committed to using the result of the research

    What Are The Steps to Conducting Research in the BPS?

    1. Submit a research proposal adhering to the Guidelines and Procedures. In general, the research submission and review calendar is as follows:

      Review Period

      Submission Month

      Review Month

      Decision Letter Sent


      June 1-30

      July 1-31



      October 1-31

      November 1-30



      February 1-28

      March 1-31


    2. For primary research (i.e. interviewing, focus groups, observations, and in-person surveys), each researcher needs to have submitted and passed a CORI check.
    3. For secondary research (i.e. requesting administrative data: records that are maintained by the school district), researchers need to submit a data request and sign a standard NDA template. NOTE: for some administrative data requests, a fee will be assessed to assist in the fulfillment of the data pull. 
    4. Submit policy brief updates twice annually to your district sponsor and the Research Team (
    5. Annually renew your research proposal with the BPS research team. 
      1. For continuing research, the following needs to be submitted:
        1. Cover page describing research activities already conducted and proposed changes to the study for the next year
        2. Most recent policy brief describing interim findings
        3. Updated district sponsor letter
        4. Updated IRB approval for next year of research