Application Requirements for a New Research Study
Researchers must complete the online application form (below) and attach their full proposal that includes all the required information outlined below in pdf form. Incomplete applications will be rejected.
Note that the executive summary must be entered on the application in the text box provided and should be the equivalent of one single-spaced page.
The following sections must be included in the attachment submitted with the online application and must be in the following format and order. Each section must start on a new page with the page number on the bottom of each page.
- Impetus for Research. State why this research is being conducted. Impetus should include a connection of the research study/questions to the BPS district priorities.
- Statement of Problem. Describe both your reasons for choosing this research topic and the particular educational problem being addressed by the study.
- Review of Literature. Discuss the results of previous research which has addressed this problem and how the proposed research will contribute to knowledge in this area. The works cited must be listed in the References section.
- Statement of Hypotheses and Research Question(s). Specifically state the research hypotheses, or indicate (if hypotheses are not appropriate) the research questions and objectives of the project.
- Research Design and Procedures. Delineate the methodology which will be used to test the hypotheses. This delineation should include:
- A description and justification of all statistical or other data analysis;
- Copies of all data collection instruments (provided in the appendix); and
- A detailed description of the procedures and operations to be used for data collection, this includes:
- the approximate anticipated amount of time subjects will spend on tasks and when the activities will occur such as during class time or outside of class time;
- any student or staff data that will be collected from records kept at the school;
- any research activities involving remote data collection (e.g., remote - by phone or online - options for questionnaires, surveys, check-ins, etc.) ; and
- provisions to ensure that all research activities will involve minimal intrusions upon the administrative and instructional processes.
- Failure to submit data collection instruments and surveys, will result in non-approval.
- Administrative Data Request. If your study requires administrative data (i.e. records that are maintained by the school district), please list the data elements and years required. Please be as specific as possible. For example, grade 7 MCAS ELA scaled scores from the Dewey Elementary school for SY 2016-17. Please list the data elements by line or in a table (see below). If the application is approved, a mutually agreed upon list of data and timeline for the creation of the data files will be negotiated between ODA and the researcher, and you will be asked to submit a formal online data request. ODA will create the NDA to be signed before the release of any data. The requested data may not be provided if, in the judgement of BPS, the data request is too resource intensive for the district to complete.
Example Administrative Data Request Domains
- Student characteristics (e.g. race, gender, grade level)
- Suspensions (e.g. days in-school suspension, days out of school suspension)
- Attendance (e.g. days present, days absent, average daily attendance)
- MCAS (e.g. raw score, scaled score, performance level)
- Course Grades (e.g. course title, final grade)
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.
- Protection of Human Rights. Delineate the procedures which will be used to ensure that the rights of research participants to confidentiality and freedom from harm will be protected, including the storage of the information collected. If the home language is other than English, the researcher is responsible for providing translations. Consent/Assent forms must be returned from every participant or parent/guardian (if participant is under the age of 18) and kept on file by the researcher. Consent forms must be collected for each year of primary data collection. ODA may ask for signed copies of the consent forms for auditing purposes at any point in the study. The expressed written active consent is required for each research participant (including district staff, teachers, and or the parent/guardian of students participants who are younger than 18 years of age). No person may participate in the study without consent forms. The consent letter must include specific content that is listed in the FAQ section (see below). All consent forms should be collected and stored electronically and shared with the research team once data collection has been completed. In general, university IRB forms comply with these required elements. If you plan to offer remuneration for research participation, please note that Massachusetts public employees are limited to cash or gifts of no more than $50 and that students may not be given any remuneration.
- Impact of Results and Plans for Reporting the Results. Explicitly state the impact and expected benefits of the research to education in general, and BPS, specifically. In particular, the researcher should indicate how this research will benefit the schools and improve teaching and learning. Specific mention should be made to the planned contributions of this research to the sponsoring department. Plans for publication and dissemination of results must also be clearly stated. Boston Public Schools will not be named as the source of the data in the study, unless special approval is received from ODA prior to the publication and dissemination of any report.
- All research tools must be submitted at the time of review. These materials include but are not limited to the following:
- Survey instruments
- Observation protocols
- Interview protocols
- Focus group protocols
- Consent forms for all research participants must be included at time of review
- Parent/guardian consent forms (with an indication that these materials will be translated into the families preferred language)
- Student assent (not required, but suggested)
- Teacher consent
- Headmaster/District staff member consent (if listed as a participant)
- District Sponsor Letter Template
- Valid Internal Review Board (IRB) approval/exemption notice must be included at time of review
- For doctoral dissertations, include a letter of approval and commitment to supervision from the faculty advisor(s)