Research and Data Requests
Per FCPS Regulation 200-41, any individual or agency wanting to conduct research within FCPS must complete and submit an Application to Conduct Research. Please submit all of your supporting documentation by email to Natalie.Gay@fcps.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
► Who must submit an application to conduct research within FCPS?
FCPS recognizes that it may receive requests to conduct research within FCPS from individuals and/or agencies. It is the responsibility of the school system to ensure that research conducted in FCPS is of high quality; protects the anonymity and/or confidentiality of participants; poses the least impact on instructional time; does not pose undue burden on staff, students, and/or parents; and supports the goals/objectives of FCPS. Therefore, anyone wishing to conduct independent, internal or external research within FCPS must receive permission.
► What research requests will not be considered for review?
The following research studies are not eligible for review and consideration:
- Clinical research involving medication, drugs, or collection of biospecimens
- Undergraduate research by individuals who are non-FCPS employees
- Master degree research by individuals who are non-FCPS employees
- Research studies concerning the “protected areas” outlined in FCPS Regulation 400-67
- Research studies from non-FCPS students
► What types of research are prioritized by FCPS?
FCPS prioritizes research that aligns with its systemic goals and related key performance indicators (KPIs). However, all research requests meeting the criteria are not guaranteed approval.
► What is the process for submitting a request to conduct research within FCPS?
Per FCPS Regulation 200-41, any individual or agency wanting to conduct research within FCPS must complete and submit an application. The application will be reviewed by a designated FCPS Research Committee. The application will be reviewed in accordance with the regulation.
- Applications must be filled out using the online application; applications sent by other means will not be processed.
- All supporting documentation (e.g., consent forms, university IRB approvals, surveys, focus group protocols, etc.) should be emailed to email@example.com. Documentation should be submitted in PDF form.
- Researchers should not submit requests to individual schools or central office departments without prior approval.
► My college or institution requires district approval from FCPS before granting IRB approval. What is the FCPS process in relation to university IRB approvals?
FCPS Regulation 200-41 indicates that “research that is part of a degree requirement must have the approval of the college or institution (i.e., IRB approval) before submitting the application to conduct research.” If the college or institution requires approval from FCPS first, the application will be reviewed without an IRB approval by the designated FCPS Research Committee. If the application meets the approval of the Committee, preliminary approval may be granted to the researcher. However, this does not grant the researcher approval to conduct research activities until FCPS is in receipt of the IRB approval. Then, final approval may be granted from FCPS.
► What is the timeline for submitting a research application and receiving a response?
Research applications must be submitted by the 1st of each month in order for a review to occur in that month. Complete research applications received by the submission deadlines (i.e., 1st of each month) will be reviewed on/about the Research Committee meeting dates. Applicants will receive correspondence regarding the status of their application within six weeks from submission deadlines. Research applications submitted after the 1st will be reviewed in the following month. All applications and supporting documentation must be submitted in full for reviews to occur.
► Who is the designated FCPS Research Committee?
The FCPS Research Committee is a designated committee that includes representation of FCPS staff who are/have served as school administrators, teachers, and/or specialists, Cabinet members, department leads, and research and data analysts. The Committee is well-diverse in discipline areas; however, research applications are often shared with other non-Committee FCPS members who are experts in other disciplines to aid in the research application review process.
► What is the process once a research request is submitted?
The research application is initially reviewed to determine if the request is complete (i.e., all supporting documentation was provided and the online application was received). If complete, the application is disseminated to a designated FCPS Research Committee for further review and discussion. Applicants should allow up to six weeks for the review and approval process.
If the application is incomplete (i.e., missing supporting documentation), the applicant will be notified by email. Only completed applications will be reviewed at designated Committee meetings. Incomplete applications will delay the review process that may extend beyond the allowed six weeks.
► I am an FCPS employee. What do I need to know about conducting research within FCPS?
FCPS supports its employees in conducting research to further their education and also values its partnership with colleges and universities. It is important that staff understand that having access to data whether it be via written documentation or digital platforms (e.g., eSchool, RADAR, testing platforms, etc.) as part of their FCPS role does not automatically permit the use of these data for master or graduate-related work or research.
- Data being used for coursework is not exempt from the research review process just because staff have access to it during their regular instruction or work day. While teachers and other staff do have access to data every day and use it to make instructional decisions, use of data outside of the classroom for other purposes, such as master or graduate coursework, is not exempt from the FCPS approval process. In some cases, e.g., when student assessment scores are being used, parent consent is needed.
- FCPS employees may not complete course requirements or research activities during their work day. Research activities must be completed during a time that has least impact on the instructional and/or staff work day.
- Staff that serve in administrative or supervisory roles may not conduct research involving individuals they directly supervise and/or formally observe or evaluate. In this case, staff are encouraged to recruit participants for their study in other schools or school districts. Principal approval is required if research is being conducted in another school.
► I am an FCPS employee. I want to conduct research within my classroom and/or school. What is considered action research and do I need to submit an application for review by the FCPS Research Committee?
FCPS Regulation 200-41 indicates that action research is “research that is conducted within schools and/or classrooms by administrators, teachers, interns, and/or other school system staff that provides diagnostic information that aids in improving, refining, and/or reflecting on academic, instructional, or organizational strategies.”
If action research is being used for the purpose of college or university coursework and/or educational program, and/or other external means of dissemination, a research application must be submitted for review by the FCPS Research Committee.
► Can I contact other FCPS staff to help with recruitment efforts?
As the researcher, you have the sole responsibility of recruiting participants and collecting data. Staff should not be solicited to aid in study recruitment and data collection/reporting efforts.
► How do I obtain contact information for staff, students, or families in order to recruit participation?
FCPS does not provide contact information to researchers to conduct research with staff, students, and/or families. It is the sole responsibility of the researcher to seek voluntary participation of this information. Proposed methods and procedures for soliciting participation should be included in either the research application and/or supporting documentation. Note: Current or former FCPS employees conducting research should not use their FCPS affiliation to solicit participation (unless otherwise approved by the FCPS Research Committee).
► When does my research request fall under a Public Information Act request?
Unless the data are publicly available (e.g., Maryland Report Card, FCPS website, BOE presentations, etc.), applicants may need to request access to these data via a public information act requests.
► Do I need to obtain active or passive consent to conduct research with FCPS?
In FCPS, active consent is required for any individual(s) wanting to conduct research. If the research study involves collection of student data (e.g., classroom observations, surveys, focus groups, etc.), parent consent may also be required.
► What do I need to do if my research design changes?
You will need to report changes via email to the Coordinator of Data Analysis and Research. Any significant changes in research design (e.g., additional data collection, changes in targeted populations, etc.) must be resubmitted for further review and approval. If research is not completed within the approved time period, then the researcher will need to be approved for an extension.
► What is the policy on monetary incentives to participate in research?
FCPS policy does not allow employees to receive monetary incentives in excess of $20. FCPS employees offered a gift or monetary incentive over $20 for participation in research will need to ensure compliance with Board Policy 109 Ethics prior to acceptance.
► What does FCPS require at the close of each study?
Any statistical reports must display the following disclaimer: Statistics reported were prepared specifically for this study and may not match other published statistics. Additionally, a copy of your research findings must be shared with FCPS. Findings can be emailed to the Coordinator of Data Analysis and Research.