Primary research (also known as field research) is defined as the collection of original data for analysis aimed at discovering new facts and their correct interpretation to draw conclusions, including for program evaluation purposes. Primary research includes various evaluation, measurement and inquiry activities that fall into two categories:
- Qualitative research activities include but are not limited to participant observations, interviews, focus groups, and ethnographies
- Quantitative research activities include but are not limited to controlled experiments, collecting survey and questionnaire data, and product testing
The Research Review Board (RRB) acts on behalf of the Chief Education Officer to review primary research proposed by external and board contracted researchers. The RRB is comprised of members from various Chicago Public Schools (CPS) offices. Research Guidelines are meant to provide researchers with a clear understanding of the types of research encouraged within CPS and procedures for submitting a research proposal for review. After reviewing the guidelines, please submit both email and hard copies of the RRB Application Form or the RRB Modification & Continuing Review Application Form as appropriate.
There is no right to access Chicago Public Schools students, staff, school facilities or data for research purposes. Access may be granted when determined to be in the best interests of the Board. If access is granted, a researcher may only access schools, students, staff, school facilities and data relevant to the research as approved by the RRB.
The RRB meets every six weeks to evaluate proposals to conduct research. Decisions resulting from the research review process will be emailed to the requestor, as well as to appropriate CPS staff. Decision letters are typically sent within one week of the review meeting date as dictated by the RRB Review Calendar. External researchers may not begin any research activities or obtain data for research purposes without first following the procedures outlined and securing the necessary approvals.
Principles/Criteria for Review
- The proposed research must directly provide educational value to the Chicago Public Schools or the Board of Education or to the field of education generally.
- The proposed research addresses an identified research priority of the district and does not duplicate research already occurring in the district
- The proposed research should not intrude upon instructional time or disrupt the educational process.
- The proposed research must manifest a sound research methodology using valid and reliable techniques.
- The proposed research must document that the researcher or organization has the capacity and experience to successfully complete the project.
- The proposed research must protect the privacy of students and staff and ensure compliance with state and federal laws and well as CPS board policy. The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Illinois School Student Records Act are based on the premise that information about an individual student is private and confidential and generally may only be accessed with parent consent.
NEW Process for Graduate Students
(See RRB Guidelines for additional detail)
Graduate Student Research Screening Process: If you are a graduate student (Master’s, Doctoral, etc.) you must complete the Graduate Student Research Screening form prior to and in addition to applying to conduct research in the district. This policy applies to all applications received by the RRB after July 8, 2016. If you submit an application to conduct research after July 8, 2016, it will not be reviewed until you complete the Graduate Student Research Screening form and receive clearance to apply to conduct research. If you do not receive clearance to apply to conduct research during the Graduate Student Research Screening process, you may not conduct nor apply to conduct your research in the district. If you do receive clearance to apply to conduct research in the district, you must then go through the RRB application process.
Research Application Timelines
Note: Requests for expedited review will be denied, so please plan accordingly.
Graduate Student Research Screening: GSRS applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, in the order they are received. Expect a decision within two weeks after materials are received. We recommend submitting materials at least 90 days before you hope to begin research activities. We also recommend paying attention to the RRB calendar and guidelines; if you receive clearance to apply to conduct your research in the district, you must meet all RRB application requirements and submission deadlines.
RRB Application: The RRB meets approximately every six weeks (please see RRB calendar for scheduled meetings), and all materials must be received by the submission deadline in order to be reviewed at the RRB meeting. Expect a decision letter within one week following the RRB meeting. We recommend submitting materials such that they are reviewed by the Research Review Board (please see RRB calendar for scheduled meetings) at least 60 days before you hope to begin research activities.
Resubmissions / Modifications / Continuing Review: Resubmissions, modifications, and continuing review applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, in the order they are received. Expect a decision within two weeks after materials are received. We recommend submitting materials at least 30 days before you expect modified research activities to begin, or 30 days before your current approval to conduct research expires.
Research Submission Information
Please use the updated forms available at the bottom of the Research Page. Please do not use older versions of the application forms. If you are required to submit both electronic and hard copy versions of your application, please know that your application is not considered complete until we have received both the electronic and hard copy versions.
Graduate Student Research Screening applications and supporting documents should be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RRB Applications should be submitted and supporting document should be submitted via email to email@example.com, and six (6) hard copies should be mailed to CPS, along with the $50 processing fee.
Resubmissions of new research proposals that have not yet been approved should be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modification / Continuing Review applications should be submitted via email to email@example.com, and one (1) hard copy should be mailed to CPS, along with the $50 processing fee.
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