• Research Proposal Review and Approval Process

    Step 1
    To initiate the research review process, the researcher must submit a completed online application and the full proposal, as described in this document, to the Office of Data and Accountability.  The website has specific time windows when research applications may be submitted and review times when new applications will not be accepted.  Please plan accordingly. 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


    Step 2
    Upon receipt of the complete online application and additional documentation, ODA will review the proposal to determine whether or not it satisfies the criteria outlined in this document. Applications that are incomplete, lack an appropriate sponsor, or improperly formatted will be rejected. ODA reserves the right to require changes in the research design, procedures, or times when it will be conducted by the schools prior to its approval.  Each complete application is reviewed by two internal BPS staff members and evaluated based on research  implementation and value (see FAQ section for more). Decisions will usually be made within the timetable shown above, but consultation with other BPS offices may result in a longer time for a final decision.

    Step 3
    Once the proposal is approved, it is the responsibility of the researcher to submit copies of the research executive summary along with a Research Proposal Review Form to the appropriate school leaders (e.g. principal/headmaster) of each school where the study is to be conducted for their approval and signature.

    All copies of the signed Research Proposal Review Forms from the schools must be emailed to research@bostonpublicschools.org before research can begin.  Research can only be conducted at a given school after the school leader has affirmatively signed the Research Proposal Review Form. Initial approval by ODA does not ensure that selected schools will be willing or able to participate.

    Step 4a
    If your study involves primary data collection at a school site, a CORI application will need to be completed for each researcher who intends to enter a school site or participate in a digital setting (such as  an online interview or focus group). CORI applications can be submitted at www.bostonpublicschools.org/cori. Additional details for submitting a CORI review can be found here.

    Step 4b
    If your study requires administrative data from BPS central records, you will need to submit a formal data request (link to be shared in approval letter). Once the data request is submitted, a fully executed non-disclosure agreement (NDA) will be required which will include mutually agreed upon data to be shared by BPS with the researcher.   Note: a fee will be assessed for data requests. These fees are based on the data elements requested and the time required to pull the data elements.

    Step 5

    After all Research Proposal Review Forms have been submitted and approved, the researcher may begin the study.

    • The researcher is expected to annually submit a policy brief update to the district sponsor and the Research Team (research@bostonpublicschools.org). 
    • Once the study is completed, a copy of the final research report must be emailed to the BPS Research Team (research@bostonpublicschools.org). 
      • Please also provide a copy of all findings to participating schools and/or programs.  Whenever feasible, the researcher should visit the school(s) to explain the findings to the principal(s) and headmaster(s) and other school staff.

    If you have any questions, please contact the BPS Research Team at research@bostonpublicschools.org