Policy and Procedure #180.0, External Research


Board Policy and Procedure #180, External Research, addresses the expectations for institutions, agencies, staff members or other individuals making requests to conduct non-Board initiated research in its schools and departments.

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Stakeholder Groups with Responsibilities Under this Policy

  • Board of Trustees

  • Director of Education

  • Manager, Research Services

  • External Research Review Committee

  • Superintendents

  • Principals

  • External Researchers

  • Staff

  • Students

  • Parents


Relationship to Board priorities

All external research must align with priorities as outlined in the Multi-Year Strategic Plan, Director’s Annual Plan, Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Well-Being, and the School and/or Department Plan.


Legislative Content

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act


Related Documents

Information Access and Privacy Protection



Curriculum and Instructional Services

Research Services


It is the expectation of the York Region District School Board that all employees, students and persons invited to or visiting Board property, or partaking/volunteering in Board or school-sponsored events and activities, will respect the policies and procedures of the Board.


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Board Policy #180.0

External Research


1. Policy Statement

It is the policy of the York Region District School Board to consider requests by institutions, agencies, staff members, or other individuals who wish to conduct research that is not initiated by the Board in its schools and departments.

While being supportive of external research, the Board recognizes that students have been entrusted to schools for their own personal education, and considers this its primary focus. All external research must support priorities as outlined in Board Plans, including the Multi-Year Strategic Plan. It is expected that external research will not have an adverse effect on students, staff, or Board resources.


2. Responsibilities


2.1 The Board of Trustees is responsible for:

  1. reviewing the External Research policy in accordance with the Multi-Year Strategic Plan, and the approved policy review cycle; and

  2. understanding and communicating with members of the community about the External Research policy, as required.


2.2 The Director of Education is responsible for:

  1. implementing the External Research policy; and

  2. granting, denying or deferring research proposals based on recommendations by the External Research Review Committee.


3. History

Approved: 1996

Working Document: March 2013, March 2018

Revised: 2002, 2008, 2013, February 2019


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Board Procedure #180.0

External Research

This procedure outlines the process for external research requests and the various roles and responsibilities throughout this process.


1. Application


1.1 Approval Criteria

When reviewing research applications, the External Research Committee considers the following factors:

  1. educational relevance and contributions to the Board;

  2. research methodology;

  3. compliance with ethical standards; and

  4. protection of staff, students, and Board resources.


1.2 External Research Review Committee

A staff committee that reviews applications for conducting research using the Approval Criteria and Guidelines in order to allow access to Board resources while safeguarding the educational process. Chaired by the Manager, Research Services. Membership includes: but not limited to, a Curriculum and Instructional Services representative, a representative from the Human Rights Commissioner’s Office and/or Education Equity and Community Services, the Board’s Chief Psychologist, a Project Manager in Research Services, an elementary school principal, a secondary school principal.


1.3 External Researcher

Students working toward the completion of the requirements of a graduate degree; persons conducting institutionally-funded research projects such as, but not limited to, universities, colleges, agencies, and hospitals; Board staff conducting research for course work or graduate degrees, and/or Ministries or Ministry-funded consultants conducting research/evaluation.


1.4 Participants

Persons who take part in a research study and from whom data are obtained.


2. Definitions


2.1 Informed Consent Form

A document created by the researcher for participants to review and sign before beginning the research. If student participation is sought, parent/guardian consent must be obtained on behalf of students under the age of 18. Students aged 18 years or over or who have withdrawn from parental control may consent on their own behalf.


3. Responsibilities


3.1 The Director of Education shall:

  1. allocate staff and resources to support the External Research procedure.


3.2 The External Research Review Committee shall:

  1. ensure that requests to conduct research in the Board meet the External Research Review Committee Approval Criteria and Guidelines; and

  2. provide recommendations to the Director about research proposals based on Approval Criteria and Guidelines.


3.3 The Manager, Research Services shall:

  1. chair the External Research Review Committee meetings;

  2. bring forward applications to the members of the External Research Review Committee for review; and

  3. provide advice and recommendations.


3.4 Research Services shall:

  1. notify the researchers in writing of the final decision regarding the research proposal on behalf of the Director of Education;

  2. if the study is approved;

    • advise the principal(s) of the potentially involved schools, and

    • provide the principal(s) with general information about the research project and the name of the researcher who will contact him or her to request participation, and

  3. store the research application, communications, summary reports and other relevant documents according to the Board’s records retention schedules.


3.5 Superintendents shall:

  1. provide advice and recommendations for external research requests, as necessary.


3.6 Principals and Managers shall:

  1. direct external researchers (including staff) wishing to conduct research in their school or workplace to the External Research policy;

  2. make decisions regarding approved external research project;

  3. determine whether their school or workplace will participate in the research project;

  4. review the approval conditions for specific external research projects as communicated by Research Services;

  5. ensure that the researcher presents the Police Vulnerable Sector Check upon entry to the school or workplace, if applicable; and

  6. ensure that the researcher has proof of written consent from a parent for students under the age of 18, or written consent from students who are 18 years or over or who have withdrawn from parental control.


3.7 External Researchers shall:

  1. submit their requests to conduct research in the Board’schools or departments to the Manager, Research Services;

  2. Comply with all Board policies and procedures;

  3. ensure that their research conforms to the Approval Criteria and Guidelines.

  4. complete all sections of the Board’s research application form;

  5. ensure that any additional documents included with the research application form do not exceed five pages in length;

  6. submit the appropriate number of copies of the proposal no later than the submission deadline;

  7. ensure that the materials are organized into individual packages for distribution;

  8. direct questions and submit applications to Research Services;

  9. attend meetings with members of the External Research Review Committee, if requested;

  10. upon approval of the research proposal:

    • obtain a Police Vulnerable Sector Check prior to commencement of the research,

    • make arrangements to implement the project in collaboration with the principal to minimize disruption to the school,

    • ensure that consent from participants is fully informed and obtained before beginning the research, and

    • sign an agreement indicating the future uses of any resources or products created as a result of the research comply with the following;

      • any not-for-profit resources or products created as a result of the research will be made available to the Board at no cost for internal use only, or

      • any for-profit resources or products created as a result of the research become the joint property of the researcher(s) and the Board unless otherwise agreed to by the Director;

  11. upon completion of the research;

    • provide an executive summary report to Research Services, and communicate findings to interested research participants and stakeholders.


3.8 Parents shall:

  1. determine whether or not they consent to their child’s participation in the research if the child is under 18 years of age, and, if they agree to their child’s participation, read and sign the informed consent document.


3.9 Potential student participants shall:

  1. read the informed consent form;

  2. provide agreement if they agree to participate in the research (if they are under 18 years of age and have parental consent); and

  3. sign the informed consent form if they agree to participate in the research if they are 18 years of age or older or have withdrawn from parental control.


3.9 Potential staff participants shall:

  1. confirm approval of the external research project with their principal or manager before participating in the study; and

  2. read and sign the inform consent form provided by the researcher if they agree to be a participant in the research.


4. History

Approved: 2008

Working Document: March 2013, March 2018

Revised: February 2019


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