Conduct Primary Research 

Please Note:

Our RRB Guidelines have been updated to reflect various changes in policy and procedure, including changes to the External Data Request Form, which is now a digital only process hosted through Google Forms. Please see the updated RRB Guidelines and the new Data Request links below for more information.

How Can I Do Research with or about Chicago Public Schools?

Chicago Public Schools has several processes in place to help external researchers collect data. The CPS Research Team groups requests for data into two broad categories: primary data and secondary data.

Primary Data: The Research Review Board (RRB) oversees decisions regarding primary data collection (i.e. survey, focus group, or interviews) that takes place inside CPS schools, or leverages CPS resources for any part of the research process.

Secondary Data: If your study and/or evaluation will require secondary administrative data on individuals (CPS staff or student level data) a formal request must be submitted through the External Data Request Form. School and District level data can be found publicly on our school data page and the City of Chicago’s Data Portal. Requests for student level data without active parental consent will be denied.

Please see the RRB Guidelines attached at the bottom of this web page for more information on any of the topics discussed.

The Research Review Board (RRB)

The CPS RRB meets on a six week cycle to review external research proposals. RRB approval is required before researchers enter CPS schools and begin study activities. Although RRB approval is necessary to begin, school principals and administrators do have the final decision regarding any study activity; RRB approval does not override the wishes of school leadership and/or staff. The RRB is chaired by representatives from the CPS Research Team and is made up members from various Chicago Public Schools offices. Please do not submit proposals to the RRB if your study and/or request ONLY involves the use of secondary administrative data. Please see the RRB Guidelines for more information on the process and policy outlined below.

How do I apply to the Research Review Board?

A new RRB application submission must include:

  • Four paper copies of the RRB application and any other relevant documents (i.e. Instruments, Consent forms, IRB approval, etc.).
  • $50 processing delivered with the four paper copies. Payment must be check or money order, and addressed to Chicago Public Schools.
  • One digital copy of all paper materials sent to research@cps.edu.

Paper copies and processing fee can be mailed or dropped off at the front desk of our Loop Office at 42. W Madison.

Mail paper copies and processing fee to:

Chicago Public Schools
Office of Planning and Data Management | Attn: RRB
42 W. Madison St., Garden Level
Chicago, IL 60602

What if I am submitting documents for a re-submission or modifications/continuing review for an existing RRB project?

Modifications and Continuing Review
Modifications and continuing review applications are reviewed on a rolling basis; these are not adherent to the dates found on the Research Review Board Calendar. A $50 processing fee is still required for consideration. These must be delivered or mailed to using the address for RRB submissions. However, researchers have the discretion to decide if they would like to submit paper or digital materials. Digital materials emailed to research@cps.edu are preferred.

Re-Submissions
If a RRB proposal was neither approved nor denied, and a request for more information was made by CPS, it is up to the researcher to decide how they wish to respond. Typically, after a re-submission request is made by CPS, external partners email research@cps.edu with their follow up to the re-submission request. Follow up materials typically include Word or PDF responses to the individual items highlighted by CPS.

What if I am a graduate student who wishes to partner with CPS to fulfill some requirement of my education?

The CPS RRB does consider proposals from graduate students (Masters, Doctoral, etc.). Most often, graduate students wish to engage with CPS to complete a Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation. A Graduate Student Screening Form is first required to be reviewed and approved before a full RRB submission can be made. Please see the RRB Guidelines for more information.

External Data Requests for Secondary Administrative Data

A full description of this process can be found within the RRB Guidelines. Our office responds to requests within 30 days. If approved, request fulfillment takes an additional 30 days.When you are ready to make your submission, please complete the External Data Request Form. Requests for student level data without active parental consent will be denied.Requests for de-identified student and/or staff level data will be considered, but please note that these requests are typically denied. To protect our students, CPS chooses to employ a strict definition of what is considered identifiable, as outlined in the Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). This form is reserved for use by CPS partners working in collaboration with the district. That can include program providers seeking data for funding continuation or evaluating program implementation, or RRB approved researchers. This form IS NOT to be used by students, undergraduate, graduate or otherwise. If you submit this as a student, solely for the purposes of your education (excluding RRB approved graduate student researchers) the request will be denied.

Resources for the RRB and External Data Requests

 RRB Guidelines
 RRB Application
 Modifications Application
 Graduate Student Screening Form
 RRB Calendar
External Data Request Form
 CPS Research Study & Data Policy
Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

 

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

Overview

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 research@cps.edu.

  • RRB Applications should be submitted and supporting document should be submitted via email to research@cps.edu, 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 research@cps.edu.

  • Modification / Continuing Review applications should be submitted via email to research@cps.edu, and one (1) hard copy should be mailed to CPS, along with the $50 processing fee.

Resources

CPS Research Study & Data Policy
 RRB Guidelines
 RRB Application Form
 Graduate Student Research Screening Form
 RRB Modification & Continuing Review Application Form
 RRB Review Calendar
 External Data Request Form
Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

Related Links

Performance Home Page
Check Your Child's Grades
Research
Assessment
School Data
School Quality Rating Policy

Page Last Modified on Thursday, May 23, 2019