Frequently Asked Questions

What types of projects do not need to go through the Research Review Committee?

Studies conducted by employees as part of their normal job responsibilities, such as Action Research conducted as part of a class, are exempt from this review process. However, if the research will result in a publicly available document such as a dissertation or published journal article, a proposal application must be submitted to the MPS Research Review Committee.

Why is there a different process for research leading to a Master’s Degree?

Due to the volume of staff working on Masters Degrees the process is more rigorous to screen for projects that are better suited for other settings. The district strongly encourages employees to seek higher degrees. To this end, we encourage employees to contact REAA for advice during the planning stages to support research that meets both district and staff goals.

What do you mean by “benefit to MPS”?

Educating youth is the primary responsibility of MPS. Researchers must demonstrate that their study contributes to achieving district goals, and does not only fulfil goals that are external to the district. MPS is in the process of developing a Research Agenda that will support stronger relationships between researchers and MPS staff and their ability to work together to support common goals.

Who can submit a proposal to conduct research in MPS?

Academics, research firms, non­profit, or government agencies wishing to collect data for a purpose that is not part of regular district business are required to submit a proposal. Ph.D. or equivalent studies that have high value to the district are accepted from MPS employees or from non-employees of MPS associated with a grant or other special project with MPS.

Can I just send out a survey to my colleagues?

No. Survey only research/evaluation studies are not accepted.

Why do I need to get parent’s consent to collect data on students?

Parental consent (or student consent where permitted by law) is required for release of all personally identifiable private data. The release must explicitly state which private information is to be released (see Sample Parent Consent Form). Even with parental consent, some sensitive information may not be released unless the student identity is concealed (e.g., medication records, results of mental tests).

All information is governed by the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minn. Stat. ch. 13; the Minnesota Rules implementing such Act, and the federal laws and regulations on the privacy of student data, 20 U.S.C. Section 1232g (FERPA); and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), if applicable.

What are reasons why a proposal would not be approved?

There are three common reasons why a proposal would not be approved.

1. Lack of Applicability - A study is deemed to be lacking relevance if the variables are not directly related to the MPS goals as articulated in the district’s strategic plan, Acceleration 2020.

2. Lack of Quality - If an ample level of scientific consistency is not demonstrated. MPS observes professional standards and the work of external researchers must be held to the same standards. If some elements of the proposal are missing or unclear, REAA will contact the researcher (via email and/or phone) to resubmit and/or clarify information.

3. Burden on MPS resources - Research that would place a strain on resources that MPS would not be able to accommodate. This includes not unduly taking away from instructional time during school hours. Times when MPS resources have been limited by budget cuts or other means can be another reason for a proposal not to be approved.

May I contact people to solicit their participation in my research while the proposal is undergoing review?

No. Researchers may not contact staff, students, or their families to participate without having a formal letter of approval from the Research Review Committee.

Is there any way to expedite the process so I can meet my deadlines?

No. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the review without compromising the process. The Research Review Committee does it best to complete each review in a timely manner. Deadlines are set to support research having adequate time to work with schools.

How do I find a Co-sponsor?

Every research request proposal must name a MPS department director or equivalent (Associate Superintendents, Executive Directors, etc.) as a co-sponsor. The best way to find a co-sponsor is to develop relationships within MPS. Asking colleagues to introduce you to MPS staff that they work with is also a possibility. The district is working on developing new approaches to support relationships between MPS staff and researchers. A MPS staff member may not serve as a district co-sponsor for research in which he/she also serves as a primary investigator.