The COVID-19 emergency has compelled Shelby County Schools to modify our Research Approval policy for the 2020-21 academic year. The changes reflect both the need for safety and the need to minimize disruptions to what will be aa challenging learning environment. In addition, District research staff must prioritize supporting our schools during this difficult time. To this end, we will limit research in the District in the 2020-21 school year to the following:
A moratorium on accepting any new research applications will take effect beginning July 25, 2020.
The moratorium will be lifted October 1 only for research applications from current SCS employees and faculty from local universities and colleges within Shelby County. We will accept applications from these groups starting on October 1. We will not accept applications from other applicants during the 2020-21 school year.
SCS will approve active collection of new data (surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc.) only for the spring semester but can begin fulfilling requests for existing data files starting October 1.
Given the uncertainties inherent to the COVID-19 emergency, SCS advises that applicants develop contingency plans in case current schooling strategies must be revised.
Individuals and organizations interested in using data from Shelby County Schools to answer research questions must be granted approval prior to beginning a project. To begin the approval process, an applicant should submit a complete application packet which includes the following:
Drafts of consent forms (if proposing to conduct a research project)
Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, if applicable
$25 application fee
Please note that completing the application process does not guarantee approval. Research questions that do not clearly benefit the District are likely to be rejected. Additionally, approval from the Research Department does not obligate any school, principal, teacher, or student to participate in a research project.
Factors considered when reviewing an application include: 1) protection of participants; 2) impact on instructional time; 3) administrative burden on schools or Central Office; and 4) quality of proposed research.
Be advised that research proposals to conduct surveys are not likely to be approved given the large volume of surveys already conducted within District and the cumulative impact this has on instructional time. Additionally, any research proposals or data requests involving students with disabilities will not be approved.
Applicants can expect email confirmation upon receipt of the application and notification of approval within 40 business days of receiving complete application, including the $25 application fee.