Program Monitoring & Evaluation
Division of Teaching and Learning
Aquilina Howell Instructional Services Center

3955 West Pensacola Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32304
 

GUIDELINES FOR CONDUCTING RESEARCH WITH LEON COUNTY SCHOOLS

RESEARCH REQUEST & REVIEW PROCEDURES
 

RESEARCH REQUEST FORM (Updated - Microsoft Word)                   

SAMPLE PARENT PERMISSION FORMS (See Parental Guidelines)
        1) Sample Form 1
        2) Sample Form 2
        3) Sample Form 3

I. Research Requests Procedures

II. Research Review Board

III. Research Review Board Approval

IV. Research Review Criteria

V. Approval/Rejection Process

VI. Chairperson, Research Review Board

VII. Research Implementation Guidelines

VIII. Reporting Research Results

IX. Amendment to Research Proposal

PARENTAL GUIDELINES

 

RESEARCH

"Research" is defined for these purposes as data collection, observation, or data analysis activities beyond that typical of classroom use or common curriculum functions that are not part of regular school/classroom functions, this includes all unique or first-time data collection activities involve or impact more than one school/program. Such activities do not include prior-reviewed program evaluation activities, except where parts of the research (e.g., a survey, test, timeline) was only approved "in concept" pending review through this research process. Research does not include state or federal, that required surveys or routine, periodic reports; ( e.g., EEO, Fall Student Survey, FTE reports.)

All such activities, regardless of whether they originate within or external to the district, are construed as research. Activities which may be questionable (as to whether they are research or not) will be reviewed and determined as research jointly by the appropriate leader(s), director(s), principal(s) and the chairperson of the Research Review Board.

 

RESEARCH REQUEST & REVIEW PROCEDURES


These procedures must be followed prior to the initiation of any "data collection or analysis of data beyond that typical of classroom use or common curriculum functions" (c.f. Policies and Administrative Regulations, Leon District Schools, 3.21(2)(g)).
 

I. Research Requests Procedures

Anyone desiring to conduct research within (i.e., collect data in or from) Leon County District Schools should:

1. Submit (5) copies of the completed Request for Research form. This form is available online or via request from the Office of Program Monitoring and Evaluation, 3955 West Pensacola Street, (850) 488-7007.

2. Submit (5) copies of an abstract of the proposed study, including a brief statement of the need for such research (e.g., the problem addressed), the rationale, the design, subjects, sampling procedures, type of results, major hypotheses, and utility of the results. This abstract should preferably be 75-100 words.

3. Submit (5) copies of the methods/data collection procedures and instruments (survey, forms, interview guides, etc.), proposed for use, which are not already available within the school system.

4. Requests from researchers or sponsors external to the district should submit five (5) copies of a summarized review of the appropriate areas of literature or evidence of a review process and rationale.

5. Submit (5) copies of parent/student permission if applicable.

The Research Request Process involves four steps to complete approval:

1.Submitting of the research forms, abstract, and data collection procedures and instruments to Program Monitoring and Evaluation,

2.Receipt of the letter from the chairperson stating approval by the Research Advisory Board,

3.Approval by the principal(s) of the school(s) to be involved, and

4.Return of the signed principal's consent form to Program Monitoring and Evaluation.

 

II. Research Review Board

Requests for Research are reviewed referee style (i.e., sent to the reviewers immediately upon receipt of the research request material) to minimize turn-around time. These selected reviewers constitute the Research Review Board. Membership on this Board includes:

1.The appropriate leader(s) of the Area I, II, and III schools (depending on the subjects and hypotheses of the proposed study).

2.The director(s)/manager(s) of the appropriate district departments or curriculum areas, (depending on the subjects and hypotheses of the proposed study).

3.One or more selected reviewers with expertise in the areas involved in the study.

4.One or more selected reviewers with expertise in data collection procedures, forms design, research procedures.

5.One or more selected reviewers from MIS and forms control committee(s).

6.The chairperson of the Research Review Board.

Approval by the Research Review Board requires the consensus of at least three-quarters of those reviewing the proposal. The Board may opt to grant approval with conditions. In these cases, adherence to specified conditions are required for approval.

The review process generally requires two to four weeks. The principal investigator will be notified, in writing, of the Research Advisory Board's recommendations within four weeks of the date of the receipt of five copies of:

1. The Request for Research

2. The abstract of the proposal

3. The review of relevant research

4. Copies of tests, data collection procedures, instruments or interview guides, as specified above.

5. Parent/student permission slips, if applicable.

6. Confidentiality Statement Form

III. Research Review Board Approval

Approval by the Research Review Board does not (in itself) constitute permission to carry out the research proposal. The researcher, having Research Advisory Board approval, needs to contact the principal(s) of the school(s) in which he or she wishes to conduct the research. Each principal is ultimately responsible for the decision relative to the involvement of students, faculty or facilities under his or her direction.

Recommendation for approval by the Research Review Board is contingent upon written consent of the principal(s) whose students, faculties, or facilities would be involved in the proposed research. A form for this purpose is provided with the approval letter. This form should be received by the chairperson of the Research Advisory Board prior to the start of any research activities at the school site.

Where research requires access to confidential information, prior permission is necessary. The specific form should conform to the guidelines for parental permission (attached) and must be approved by the Research Review Board Chairperson and the respective site school principals following approval of the research required.

 

IV. Research Review Criteria

1. Validity

How appropriate are the procedures (design) for the analysis of the problem to be dealt with? Are the procedures likely to support valid conclusions or findings as are proposed by the researcher? These considerations must include instrument (tests, surveys, interviews, forms for data collection) reliability, appropriateness, etc.

2. Efficiency/Practicality

Are the required data available from more readily accessible sources or through more appropriate methods? Is the data collection redundant or possibly something that should supplement an ongoing data collection effort? Are the methods for obtaining the data reasonable and practical given the way district operates (in light of such real considerations as other priorities, individual staff obligations, informal policies or protocol, etc.)?

3. Cost/Benefit

Is the cost of this program or intervention, in terms of school personnel, utilities, curriculum interference, etc., justified in terms of potential benefits to the educational process or to our education support operations? Have there already been projects, or are there projects/programs now on-going that adequately cover this issue or problem, i.e., has enough been done with this already?

4. Confidentiality/Records Access/Controversy

Is the problem or the proposed manner for dealing with the problem sufficiently controversial to require special conditions or monitoring? Does this study adequately respect the rights and privacy of the students and teachers involved? Is parental consent needed prior to the involvement of any students? Do you feel that this study merits a general meeting of the Research Review Board members?

5. Willingness to Cooperate

Is there sufficient reason to warrant our district's cooperation with the researchers to carry out this project? Bear in mind any obligations our district may have to higher educational purposes, to cooperating with our local universities, the State Department of Education, or to the general community as may be represented in or involved with the proposed research. Have cooperative ventures with these parties in the past have been successful or appropriately handled?

 

V. Approval/Rejection Process

Upon consideration of this research request, each reviewer indicates approval or concerns on the Reviewer Summary Sheet. Any particular conditions as may directly handle the concerns cited should be listed. Those requests about which there are major concerns expressed will be dealt with in a called, group meeting of the Research Review Board. Pending the discussion and majority consensus of the attending members (minimum of three), satisfactory conditions and approval/rejection status will be determined in the group meeting of the Research Review Board. Research requests for which there are no concerns expressed, or for which the concerns are adequately dealt with through specified conditions (to the satisfaction of the reviewer(s) citing the concerns), will not require a group meeting of the Research Review Board. Handling, follow-up, records, and documentation are the responsibility of the Research Review Board Chairperson.

 

VI. Chairperson, Research Review Board

All communications, follow-up, record-keeping, documentation, and coordination of research activities are the responsibility of the chairperson of the Research Review Board.

 

VII. Research Implementation Guidelines

All research personnel are responsible for minimizing the amount of inconvenience or disruption of normal school activities. Any violation or unacceptable conduct on the part of research personnel, either directly or indirectly should be reported immediately to the chairperson of the Research Review Board and the principal(s) of the school(s) involved.

Any intervention that requires student participation in activities or participation in activities for periods of time not typically within the realm of the regular school curriculum, will require written permission from the student's parents/guardian, or the students themselves, if over 18 years of age. These forms must be approved by the principal(s) involved and the Chairperson of the Research Review Board.

By action of the Leon District School Board and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (1974), the use of confidential student information not completely anonymous requires the notification and prior approval of the parent/guardian of the student, or the approval of the student if married or over 18 years of age. Most often, this dictates written parental permission. The form and content of such permission must be approved by the chairperson, Research Review Board and the participating school principal(s) or program director(s) following approval of the research request. Guidelines for parental permission are attached.

 

VIII. Reporting Research Results

Upon completion of the study, one (1) copy of the report of the results and appropriate discussion must be sent to the chairperson of the Research Review Board. The responsibility for this rests with the principal investigator's department (or area) sponsor. Continuing district support for research efforts require the cooperation of research sponsors in following these procedures.

 

IX. Amendment to Research Proposal

Any significant changes or amendments to the procedures or design of the study as described should be communicated to and approved by the chairperson of the Research Review Board. Any questions , or concerns over some part of the process, should be addressed to the chairperson of the Research Review Board.

 

PARENTAL GUIDELINES

 

Before initiating your research, you will need to obtain consent from the parents of the participants under 18. Your parental consent form or letter must be approved by this office before you can use it. Included on this form must be:

1.   Research Title and Introduction,

2.   Nature and Purpose of the Project,

3.   Explanation of Procedures of the Data Collection (specify if you need to look in student's records),

4.   Discomforts and Risks, if applicable,

5.   Benefits,

6.   Confidentiality Statement,

7.   Refusal/Withdrawal,

8.   Student's Name,

9.   Signature of Parent and Date, and

10. Signature of the Investigator and Date.

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