The research approval process is the mechanism by which individuals or organizations who wish to answer research questions using or collecting data from Shelby County Schools gain approval to move ahead with their project. No research should be conducted in the District prior to receiving official approval through this process.
Any research questions that require data from Shelby County Schools that are not publicly available require approval. This includes research designed to gather original data from Shelby County Schools and District data files that are not publicly available.
Yes. There is a non-refundable $25 application fee that is due when you submit your completed application. In addition, there may be additional fees if you are requesting data files or need data de-identified from the District. The fees for data files will be calculated based on the amount of time required to prepare the files for you. You will be informed of any additional costs before the data files are created for you.
Students should be aware that the expected timeframe for submitting an application and receiving approval is 40 business days after we receive a complete application. Students attending universities or colleges that have Institutional Review Board (IRB) processes are required to submit IRB approval before receiving final approval from Shelby County Schools. Applicants requesting to do original research projects in the District should note that no research projects will be allowed during the State testing window each spring.
SCS does not permit applicants who are current SCS school staff to ask their own faculty, other staff or students to participate in their research unless it is classroom-level action research. School-based applicants should plan to identify other SCS schools where they do not work to request participation in surveys, focus groups or interviews. This is to mitigate the possibility that research subjects feel pressured to participate when they don’t wish to and to ensure better objectivity in the resulting research.
Applicants will receive email confirmation upon receipt of an application. Following that, it can take up to 40 business days after we receive a complete application to get official approval from the District. However, you may be contacted before then by someone reviewing your proposal for clarifications and/or revisions to the application materials
We try to attend to each research approval application as quickly as possible, but there is no guarantee we can complete the process in less than 40 business days. However, to make the process as smooth as possible, be sure to submit a complete application (including the $25 application fee) and all supplemental information at the same time. Also, check your email for any follow up correspondence that you may receive.
Most research projects require informed consent from the research participants (e.g., teachers, administrators, parents, students). Research involving students generally requires either active or passive parental consent, depending on the nature of the proposed project. (Students age 18 or older can sign their own informed consent; parental consent is not required.)
Research that requires active parental consent for students also requires assent by the student before the student participates in the project. Assent statements should include: 1) a description of the research project and what it is that the student is being asked to do; 2) notification that the student’s participation is completely voluntary with no consequences for declining to participate; and 3) notification that the student can stop participating at any time without repercussion.
Student assent should be in language appropriate to the student’s level of understanding. If you are affiliated with an institution with an Institutional Review Board (IRB) follow your institution’s IRB guidelines for oral or written assent. If not, students in elementary school should receive oral assent. Students in middle school and high school should have a written assent form that is orally explained to them prior to their signature. Assent language should be at a reading level two grade levels below the lowest intended grade.
Listed below are the components that should be included in all consent forms. If you are affiliated with an institution with an Institutional Review Board (IRB) process, additional information may be required by the IRB. All consent forms should be written in non-technical, easy-to-understand language.
A brief description of the study, including its purpose.
What is required of study participants
Specifics about time commitment, study duration, and meeting times and places
Risks and benefits to participants
Assurances that participation is voluntary
Assurances that not participating, opting out, or discontinuing participation will not negatively affect participants
Assurances that data will be confidential and securely stored
Name and contact information for the researcher (and committee chair for graduate students) for participants and/or parents
Below are some examples of data the District can provide. If the data you are interested in are not on this list, you may email [email protected] to determine if the District can provide you with the information you need before you submit an application.