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Research/Evaluation Proposals: Instructions and Forms
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Research/Evaluation Proposals: Instructions and Forms
Research/Evaluation Proposals: Instructions and Forms

Role of MPS Research Review Committee and Criteria for Conducting Research/Evaluation in the District
Research/Evaluation Requiring Approval
Research/Evaluation Studies That Will Not be Reviewed
Appeals Process
Research/Evaluation Not Requiring Approval
Fee Structure
Timelines for Conducting Research/Evaluation in MPS
Role of District Co-Sponsor
When you can begin research/evaluation activities
Research/Evaluation Proposal Requirements
Information on Videorecording
Information on Studies Involving Sensitive Material
Privacy of Student Data
The Review Process
Feedback to the District
Contact Information

Role of MPS Research Review Committee and Criteria for Conducting Research/Evaluation in the District
All applicants must submit a research proposal (see Research Proposal Requirements section) to conduct research. Requests are processed by the MPS Research Review Committee (under the auspices of the MPS REAA Department), which functions as a decision-making body and issues final, written approval or denial of a research application.

The MPS Research Review Committee is NOT an Institutional Review Board. The role of the MPS Research Review Committee is to screen applications to ensure that they meet the District criteria outlined in MPS Policy 1730 and Regulation 1730A.

Guidelines for conducting research projects in the district are the following:

  1. The study must be in alignment with district priorities.
  2. The study must have the potential to make a definite contribution to the education profession and/or to the Minneapolis Public Schools in particular.
  3. The study must be pedagogically sound and feasible in terms of its demands on student time, teacher time, and possible expense to the district.     
    The study design should minimize disruption to instructional time.
    Staff members’ time must be protected so that they can complete their assigned duties.
  4. There must be reasonable assurance that no child in the Minneapolis Public Schools will suffer educationally as a result of the research.
  5. The researcher must use appropriate methods to secure informed consent from study participants. The overall design of the study must be sound and have the potential for successful completion.
  6. The project must comply with ethical standards for research in education and with all regulations set forth in federal and state law, particularly as they pertain to privacy of data on individuals.

Priority will be given to:
     a)   Research and evaluation projects that demonstrate potential for system impact.
     b)   Grant funded evaluation proposals.
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Research/Evaluation Requiring Approval
Approval from the MPS Research Review Committee is required before beginning any research program that involves district staff, students, facilities or functions in:

  • The collection of data from students, parents, teachers, administrators, or other professional staff;
  • Observations, surveys, focus groups, or individual interviews involving any of the above persons;
  • The release of private data from district records.

Please note that all data requests must be associated with an already-approved research study or be accompanied by an application for research.

We only accept Ph.D. or equivalent studies from employees of MPS or from non-employees of MPS associated with a grant or other special project with MPS; all such studies must have demonstrated high value for the District. If a district employee seeks to conduct a research study to fulfill the requirements for a dissertation, a proposal must be submitted to the Committee. 

Research/Evaluation Studies That Will Not be Reviewed
The following research studies will not be reviewed:

  • We do not accept Master's students or ad hoc proposals.*
  • We do not accept "survey only" research/evaluation studies.
  • We do not accept studies that are for class projects.
  • The District's flyer and poster distribution policy prohibits the distribution of flyers and posters solely for research subject recruitment.

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*Appeals Process for Master's Students
In order to appeal, please submit the following documents:

  • Contact information including your name, email address, phone number.
  • School information including name of school, name of advisor, advisor email address.
  • One-page document (12 point font, 1 inch margins, single-sided) that includes the following:
             Brief description of your project
             Brief description of methodology
             Explanation of how your project aligns with district priorities
             Proposed Timeline
  • A letter from your advisor stating that you have completed all your coursework for the master's degree and how the research will be used to complete your Master's thesis.

All appeals will be reviewed by the Chief of Accountability, Innovation and Research, who will make final determinations regarding appeals. A successful appeal grants you a review of your proposal by the MPS Research Review Committee; however, it does not guarantee that your proposal will be accepted. Master's proposals must fulfill the same requirements as all other research proposals and will be reviewed against the scoring outlined on the REAA website:  http://rea.mpls.k12.mn.us/research.

Please send your appeal documents electronically to:
  Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability Department
     Email:  MPSresearch@mpls.k12.mn.us
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Research/Evaluation Not Requiring Approval
Studies conducted by employees as part of their normal job responsibilities 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. If you are unsure whether or not you need to submit a proposal, please contact the MPS REAA Department via email at MPSresearch@mpls.k12.mn.us.
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Fee Structure
Application/Processing fee $150.00

  • Requests to make changes to an already-approved study (e.g., review of additional instructions or changes consent procedures, etc.) must be made to the MPS Research Review Committee and be accompanied by a $75.00 addendum fee.
  • Changes to already-approved proposals (addenda) will be accepted for no more than 5 years from original approval date. After that, a new proposal must be submitted. Please refer to the original application study number when re-submitting the new application.

Data Request fees:

  • Rates are as follows:  $85/hour for internal staff, $175/hours for outside researchers/evaluators.

No Cash is Accepted for any fee (application fees, fees for data runs, etc.)
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Timelines for Conducting Research/Evaluation in MPS
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The initial review of an application will take 2-4 weeks and the entire approval process may take 10-12 weeks depending on the quality, type, and number of proposals in the queue.

Proposals for research to be conducted during the 2016-2017 school year will be reviewed in the order in which they are received (assuming the application is complete) beginning July 1, 2016.

Addenda to approved studies must be submitted in writing to the MPS Research Review Committee. The Committee will review the proposed changes and respond back to the researcher regarding approval of those changes within 4-6 weeks. Addendum fee is $75.00.
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Role of District Co-Sponsor
Every research request proposal must name a Minneapolis Public School administrator as a co-sponsor; the District co-sponsor must be a department director or equivalent. An MPS staff member may not serve as a district co-sponsor for research in which he/she also serves as a primary investigator. The Chief of Accountability, Innovation and Research may not serve as a district co-sponsor.

Written acknowledgement of sponsorship from the co-sponsor and each building principal must be provided to the MPS Research Review Committee (email is acceptable).

The role of the co-sponsor is to:

  • Attest that the requested research will contribute directly to the benefit of the Minneapolis Public Schools;
  • Read and participate in the review process;
  • Assist with any necessary coordination during the course of the research; and
  • Assist in assuring that the results of the study are shared with the appropriate school/district personnel.

Applicants pursuing research for a degree must also provide advisor contact information and advisor signature. The advisor will be included on communications between the MPS Research Review Committee and the applicant.
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When You Can Begin Research/Evaluation Activities
No research activities may begin, including obtaining consent from study participants, until written approval has been granted by the MPS Research Review Committee. Researchers conducting research studies in our schools must also be registered with Volunteer MPS before any study activities may begin (register online at: http://volmps.mpls.k12.mn.us/). This registration system is in place to ensure that all non-district partners that work within our schools have permission, background checks, and so forth. Researchers must also obtain principal signatures from all buildings in which the study will occur before study activities may begin. Email communication from the principal to the MPS Research Review Committee is acceptable.
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Research/Evaluation Proposal Requirements
In order for a proposal to be considered, researchers MUST submit one original and one copy (two copies total) of the following:
1. A completed Research/Evaluation Request Cover Sheet.

2. Title of the Study.

3. A brief proposal (maximum six pages, double-spaced, numbered pages) describing the study, including all of the following: 
      a.  Purpose of the research, including a description of its value to the Minneapolis Public Schools 
      b.  Theoretical background including references, where appropriate – not a full literature review
            (This should be written for a cross-disciplinary, general audience.)
      c.  Description of the study which must include the following:

  • Hypotheses or specific research questions to be addressed
  • Specifics of the sample – who, when, how many, which site(s), etc.
  • Description of the tasks students or staff members will be asked to complete
  • Time demands on students, teachers, or other district employees
  • Data collection methodologies you will use to answer your research questions
  • Samples of all data collection instruments (e.g., survey questions, observation forms and rubrics, interview questions, assessments and scoring information).  (Samples of data collection instruments do not count toward the six page maximum.)

      d. Description of your proposed data analysis plan – the methodology you will use to analyze the data and the way in which this will address the original hypotheses or research questions.

To address the study description and data analysis plan (3c. and 3d. above), all applications must include a Research Design Table with the following information: 

Research/Evaluation Question(s)

Data Collection Instrument(s)

Sampling and Data Collection Methodologies

Time Demand on Research Subjects

Proposed Analyses






4. Description of the procedures you will use to secure and acknowledge informed consent of all
    participants, including active or passive consent. If you are proposing to use passive consent, please provide
    a rationale.
         a. Outline how subjects will be identified and the criteria used for recruitment, who will make the initial contact with subjects, and whether or not inducements will be used to secure participation.
         b. Attach consent forms for study participants (e.g., parental consent forms, student assent forms, teacher consent forms). (Consent forms do not count toward the six page maximum.)
         c. If the study is likely to involve second-language students, the parental consent letters must also be translated into Hmong, Spanish and Somali before the study can proceed. Copies of translated consent forms must be submitted to the MPS Research Review Committee; however, we recommend waiting to translate consent forms until all consent forms have been approved by the Committee.
         d. Researchers should retain all consent/assent forms and must be prepared to make them available to the building principal or to a district official.
         e. If you plan on video-recording students as part of the study, please see the section entitled
             “Information on Videorecording.”
         f. If your research could be considered “sensitive” in nature, please see the section entitled
            “Information on Studies Involving Sensitive Material.”

5. List all funding sources and budget for your study.

6. Please indicate whether you will be making a data request from REAA for this study. If so, you must complete a Data Confidentiality Agreement (sample Data Confidentiality Agreement). Reminder: all data requests must be associated with an already-approved research study or be accompanied by a proposal to conduct research.

7. Provide copy of IRB application. Provide IRB approval letter or statement that IRB approval is pending MPS approval. (IRB application and/or letter do not count toward the six page maximum.)

8. Verify that you have all of the required components by using the Researcher/Evaluator Checklist.

Send requests with all required information and the $150.00 processing fee payable to Minneapolis Public Schools/Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Accountabiity (REAA) to:

MPS Research Review Committee
Minneapolis Public Schools
REAA Department
1250 West Broadway Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2533
email:  MPSresearch@mpls.k12.mn.us

Proposals will be prescreened to ensure that they include all required information. If any information is missing, the researcher will be notified that the proposal is on hold until the necessary information is supplied. 
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Information on Videorecording
Researchers must make a reasonable case for how videotaping is important to the research.  Any research that will use videotaping must obtain ACTIVE parental consent.  Parents must be informed:

  • That they have the option of saying “yes” or “no” to their child being in the videotape; and
  • That the videotaping will be structured so that students who don’t have consent can remain in the room during instruction but be assured that they will not be in the videotape (describe the process for how you will do this).

The consent form must also include the following information:

  • The purpose of the videotaping
  • How the videotape will be used (e.g., to verify agreement between observers and/or to be used to present at conferences)
  • How long the videotape will be kept / used
  • When / how the videotape will be destroyed
  • Who will have access to the videotape

NOTE:  District media releases are for District purposes only and cannot be used as a substitute for the researcher obtaining his/her own release.
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Information on Studies Involving Sensitive Material
The following must be addressed if you will be conducting research about information of a sensitive or risky nature (e.g., drug use, sexual activity, bullying behavior). 

Typically, surveys of a sensitive nature would require active parental consent (whether connected to a student ID or not). Your consent form must:

  • Indicate that the information obtained is for research purposes only and will not be shared with the school district;
  • Be clear about what data you (as the researcher) will be collecting and what you will/will not do with the information;
  • Indicate whether the information collected will be “identifiable” (i.e., whether the student data will be connected to the student’s name/ID). If the information is connected to a student, the researcher must let parents and students know that the researcher will intervene if there is a need based on responses.

Your data collection instruments must:

  • Indicate that the research is not being done by MPS and no one from the school will know the answers;
  • Provide information about who students can talk to about issues raised in the study;
  • Indicate, for instruments connected to a student, that if the student indicates he/she is ‘in trouble/at risk,’ someone will follow up with them.

Privacy of Student Data
Release of personally-identifiable information from district files is subject to the requirements of federal and state law. Any research project that requires access to private data from district files will require a Data Confidentiality Agreement between the researcher and the district. This agreement will specify the variables to be released and the security measures to be taken by the researcher to protect the confidentiality of the data.

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. 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 about students and other individuals collected, created, maintained or disseminated for any purpose through the activities of the researcher or its members shall remain private. 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.

Researchers should be knowledgeable about the following:

  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. section 1232g
  • FERPA Regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 99
  • Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statutes chapter 13, 13.32, 13.43
  • Minnesota Rules chapter 1205
  • Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

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The Review Process
Once a complete proposal is received, the MPS Research Review Committee will score the proposal by rating the following elements on a scale of 1-5:

  • Relevance to the current needs and interests of MPS/SHIFT priorities
  • Quality and technical adequacy of the design
  • Quality and technical adequacy of the instrument(s)
  • Appropriateness of the data analyses
  • Feasibility of data collection methods
  • Disruption of instruction and administrative duties
  • Evidence of writing and research competence
  • Potential for violation of participants’ privacy & rights
  • Overall Rating

The MPS Research Review Committee will review the proposal and the researcher will be notified that the proposal is either:
(a) rejected (received less than 25 out of 40 points);
(b) on hold (received 25-29 points out of 40). The proposal requires major revisions. If revisions are satisfactory, the status of the proposal moves to "conditional approval".
(c) has conditional approval (received 30-40 points). The proposal will be approved once any necessary revisions are made.

When the study is approved, the MPS Research Review Committee will notify the researcher and district co-sponsor (and academic advisor, where applicable). Approval does not guarantee that a study can or will be conducted, because school principals have the final decision regarding the participation of the school in any research program. The researcher should work with the district co-sponsor to secure final commitment for study participation from building principals (written approval must be submitted to the MPS Research Review Committee).

If your study requires any modifications after approval (within 5 years), please submit an addendum and a $75.00 fee to the MPS Research Review Committee. The Committee will review your proposed changes and respond back to you regarding approval of those changes within 4-6 weeks.
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Feedback to the District
The researcher must provide the MPS Research Review Committee and district co-sponsor with a report of final results no more than three months after completion of the study. Final reports must also be submitted to principals who were involved in the study. For studies lasting more than a year, researchers must submit an interim/progress report no more than two months after the end of each year of the study. Report due dates must be specified on the Research/Evaluation Request Cover Sheet. Progress reports shuold be 3-5 five pages.

Failure to submit an interim report places project at risk for continuation. Failure to submit a final report jeopardizes approval of future proposals.

Publications emanating from studies in the schools should acknowledge the contribution of MPS unless requests to the contrary are made, or unless the identification of the system would jeopardize future research efforts or school programs.
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Contact Information
If you have any questions about conducting research in the Minneapolis Public Schools, please contact: MPSresearch@mpls.k12.mn.us or  Ann Mavis, 612-668-0442
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