Request to Conduct Research
The Charleston County School District (CCSD) welcomes CCSD staff and outside organizations and individuals to conduct school-based research projects that contribute to the improvement of student achievement. To conduct research in CCSD, it is necessary that you submit an application as will be described below. Note that the review process may take up to eight weeks from the time of submission. Also, note that this research request process involves the researcher seeking permission to collect their own data. At this time, we are unable to fulfill requests that involve the district collecting or pulling data for researchers. Studies that involve only the use of existing, publicly avaialble data do not require district review.
Applying to Conduct Research
To conduct research in CCSD schools, you will need to submit an application at the following link: CCSD Research Request. The application will ask you to identify the following:
- STUDY TITLE: What is the title of your proposed study?
- STUDY SUMMARY: Please include one paragraph that describes your study and is written in the third person. It should identify:
- Your name and who you are (e.g., an Assistant Professor at the College of Charleston, a math teacher at Wando High School),
- What you want to study,
- Who you seek to recruit to your study,
- What data you will collect and how,
- How the study will benefit CCSD, and
- If this study relates to any existing partnerships and/or if your study has the support of any CCSD administrators or teachers.
- STUDY PURPOSE & RESEARCH QUESTIONS: What is/are your study research question(s)? What is the purpose of your study? What gap(s) in the research literature will your study fill?
- BENEFITS TO CCSD: In what ways will your study benefit CCSD students, teachers, or administrators? Will participants receive any incentives for participation?
- STUDY COSTS: Will your study detract from instructional time? How much time will students, teachers, and/or administrators need to invest to complete your study materials and will that occur during the school day or at another time? What are the possible physical, psychological, or legal risks to participants, CCSD schools, or the district? How will you ensure that participant data as well as school names are kept confidential and that study participants will not be identifiable in any summaries of your results?
- PARTICIPANT RECRUITMENT: How will you select and recruit participants to your study? Please identify any particular schools in which you intend to conduct your study. Approximately how many staff or students do you intend to recruit?
- DATA COLLECTION: What data do you intend to collect, how will you gather it, and when will it be collected? Note that no research may be conducted during state or district-wide testing. Note that CCSD also does not permit researchers using video-taping or photography.
- DATA ANALYSIS: How will your data be analyzed?
- DISSEMINATION: How will your study results be used or shared and with whom?
- STUDY PARTNERS: Do you have support from any CCSD teachers or administrators for conducting your study or is this study part of larger partnership with CCSD or CCSD schools? If no, please write "N/A." If yes, please identify the CCSD staff members with whom you have communicated about your project and their involvement.
- INFORMED CONSENT: Except in the case of emancipated minors, researchers must obtain signatures of parents or legally authorized representatives (on a consent form) and of the student/minor (on an assent form) prior to a student’s participation in the research study. For all research studies, CCSD requires active consent (rather than an opt-out procedure). Please upload your informed consent document(s) as a single pdf or word document. Ensure that it contains the following information:
- The person to whom inquiries should be addressed before, during, and after the study
- The study title and purpose
- How participants will be selected
- An easily understood description of what is expected from participants
- Anticipated benefits in terms of knowledge or benefits to the participants or CCSD
- Possibly physical, psychological, legal, or other risks
- Whether students will be personally identifiable and to whom or how you will ensure that participant data as well as school names are kept confidential
- With whom results will be shared/available and for what purpose
- If you are collecting student data, a statement which allows parents to indicate that they do not wish for their child to participate
- A statement identify participants' or parents' right to inspect materials before consenting
- A statement expressing that the district is neither conducting nor sponsoring the project
- A statement indicating that there is no penalty for not participating in the study
- A statement indicating that there is no penalty for withdrawing from the study at any time
- INSTRUMENTS: Please upload all study instruments such as surveys, interview questions/protocol, observation checklists, etc. Please upload your instruments as a single pdf or word document.
- INSTITUTIONAL APPROVAL: If you are completing this research as part of your work in a higher education institution or if you are a student and completing this study as part of a capstone, thesis, or dissertation project, you must also submit an approval letter from your school's Institutional Review Board (IRB)/ethics committee. If you are a student, please also include a letter of support from your research advisor. If you are unable to receive IRB approval until after you have received CCSD approval, please include a note explaining this and submit a letter of support from your advisor.
- (OPTIONAL) Please upload any additional documents that support your study.
We recommend that you write your responses in a Word document so that you can check for grammar and spelling and then paste your responses into the link provided, once you are ready. Joanna Gilmore will send an email to you within 5 business days to let you know that your study materials were received. If you do not receive a follow-up email, you can contact Joanna Gilmore at Joanna_Gilmore@charleston.k12.sc.us.
Study Review Process
The review process may take up to eight weeks from the time of submission. Your application and materials will be shared with a Research Review Committee that will be composed of a chair and up to two additional CCSD staff members. Each committee member reviews research proposals using the following guidelines:
- The study should not cause harm to participants.
- The study should afford a direct benefit to CCSD, our students, staff, etc
- Study benefits should outweigh any costs such as loss of instructional time.
- The study should align with district initiatives or priorities and should not interfere with ongoing instructional programs.
- The study should employ a sound research design such as providing ample details about data collection, using valid and reliable instruments, conducting analyses that are appropriate to the research question(s), etc.
If your study is approved by the committee, it will be sent for final approval to the Chief Academic Officer and the Superintendent.
Even with district approval, participation in research studies is always voluntary. Schools, principals, teachers, and students who do not wish to participate have a right to refuse. Further, in addition to district approval, principal approval is also required before recruiting students and/or staff to participate in a study. Pressure shall not be applied to promote participation.
Once your project is finished, submit a copy of your report/write-up to Dr. Joanna Gilmore at email@example.com.
Thanks for your consideration of these research guidelines. If you need further assistance, please call (843) 937-6437.