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Jonathan Dings

Exec Dir, Assessmnt/Prgrm Eval
Exec Dir, Assessmnt/Prgrm Eval

Brigitte Mutter

Assistant Director, Research &
Asst. Director, Research & Assessment

Research Review Process: Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact in Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) if I want to conduct research, administer a survey, or collect data?

Please contact the Office of Student Assessment & Program Evaluation by either emailing research@bvsd.org or calling 720-561-5147.  Be prepared to provide your research questions and / or area of interest to study in the district. BVSD staff will ask general questions about your project to determine if your project has the potential to yield district participation benefits.

What do you mean by “benefits to Boulder Valley School District?”

The district will only consider a proposal that is likely to yield products that are genuinely useful to the district or its schools. Ideal proposals will demonstrate alignment to the district’s vision, mission, values and goals. Although BVSD values research, the district will not consider research projects that may only contribute to general educational research findings or completed for the sole purpose of fulfilling coursework requirements.  If your are invited to complete the initial application, you will be asked to describe how your research would benefit BVSD.

Do I have to wait until my institutional review board (IRB) has completed its review before submitting a proposal to the district?

No.  It is common that research projects go through the district review process at the same time as it goes through the IRB review process.  Some IRBs require a district approval prior to granting IRB approval. If you do not yet have IRB approval and BVSD supports your project, the district will conditionally approve your project with the requirement that the Office of Student Assessment & Program Evaluation receive a copy of the IRB approval letter prior to the collection of any data. The other advantage to contacting the district of your interest as soon as possible is to identify changes that the district may require before you have received IRB approval.  This avoids putting researchers in a position of needing to resubmit their proposal to their IRB.   

How long does the approval process take?

The BVSD Research Review Committee reviews proposals in cycles.  To ensure that your study can start on your intended start date, submit your application by the submission date that aligns with the approximate notification date that is closest to your start date.

I am on a tight schedule. To save time may I contact people in the district or at schools to solicit their participation in my research either before submitting the proposal or while the proposal is undergoing review?

No.  Under no circumstances may a researcher contact any district staff, students, or parents without an approval letter from the BVSD Research Committee.

Who needs to submit a “request to do educational research” for review by the Boulder Valley School District?

After contacting the Office of Student Assessment and Program Evaluation,  any interested researcher who was invited to complete the initial application AND passed the screening will then  be invited to submit a full proposal which will include the completion of the Request To Do Educational Research form.   By signing this form, researchers acknowledge that they will comply with BVSD research requirements.  

What are the reasons why a proposal would be rejected?

There are four major reasons why BVSD may turn down your proposal: 

1) your topic does not align with BVSD’s goals and priorities

2) your methodology requires an intense burden upon district / school resources 

3) your research is not deemed rigorous enough to ensure the privacy of research participants; or will not result in findings that are defensible and valuable

4) a district sponsor for your project could not be found. Every approved research project will have an assigned district sponsor. A sponsor is a district staff member who will serve as a point person should a researcher have questions and will ensure that the research project proceeds as defined in the approved proposal.

If I work for BVSD, do I need to submit a proposal?

Depending on several factors such as what you intend to do with the results, whether your supervisor/principal requests an approval, or what level of access to data you need to answer your research questions will determine whether you will need to submit a proposal to the Office of Student Assessment and Program Evaluation.  Please feel free to contact us by emailing research@bvsd.org or calling 720-561-5147 if you have any questions.  You may also review this decision tree to help you determine whether you need to submit a proposal.

Does a district approval guarantee that I will be able to begin my project?

No.  An approval from our office only means that your research aligns with our mission and goals, and is methodologically sound.  As with all research, individual schools, offices, staff, students, and parents all have the right to decline participation in your study.  In addition, if your approval is contingent upon various items all contingencies must be fulfilled prior to the start of your approved study.

What are some examples of common contingencies placed on district approvals?

Most research proposal approvals have one or more contingencies.  Principal and IRB approvals are the most common contingencies included in our research approvals.  If your study is subject to an IRB review, your IRB may need our approval prior to issuing their approval, or your IRB office may take longer than expected.  In either case, our office will need a copy of your IRB approval prior to any data collection activities. Principals must approve all research projects that occur within their schools, whether teachers agree to participate or not.  Researchers will also have to abide by district volunteer guidelines if they intend to capture data within our schools.  Depending on the level of student contact, researchers may be required to complete an online background screening.  The cost for the screening process is $17.00 plus applicable state fees.

How long is a research approval valid for?

Every approval is valid for only one year following the date of the approval letter.  

What if I’m proposing to do a study that takes longer than a year?

For multi-year research projects or projects which need to be extended, you will be required to submit an annual update to our office.  The update should include a summary of the past year’s research activities and, if applicable, a summary of any changes that may be needed that were not in the original proposal.  Depending on the level of changes, another review of your project may be needed prior to beginning the next year of study activities.