Guidelines for Conducting Research

Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) recognizes the need for continued research in education and other related areas. The department of Research & Evaluation screens applications from graduate students, university researchers, and other research organizations requesting access to SBISD as a research site. Each proposed project is reviewed according to district policy, sponsoring university protocol, and federal guidelines for the protection of human subjects. Applications are carefully considered based on the researcher's expectations of resources from the district, the intended target population(s), the potential risks and benefits to the target population and the district, and the degree of intrusiveness into the instructional program. 

Who needs approval?


Any study that involves data collection through observation, interviews, surveys, tests, etc., from students and personnel in the Spring Branch ISD schools is defined as "Research" and is subject to the approval process. This also includes any research conducted on Spring Branch ISD facility or campus.


Any individual or group must submit an application for approval to collect information for: 
     1. Individual research 
     2. Class projects 
     3. Master thesis
     4. Doctoral dissertations 
     5. Other related studies 


SBISD employees who are collecting data, testing students, etc., not as part of their regularly assigned administrative or instructional duties, are required to secure permission prior to conducting research.

What documentation needs to be submitted?

  • A completed Spring Branch ISD application and :
    • Electronic copy must be submitted to Mike Thomas.  The copy must include the scanned signatures of the researcher, faculty sponsor, and department chair. 
    • When applicable, the application must include campuses that the researcher would like to approach for conducting research
  • A copy of the approved research proposal by committee, if applicable
  • Proof of all university approvals on the application, if applicable
  • Human subjects or IRB approval, if applicable
  • A copy of all instruments (tests, questionnaires, interview protocols, observation forms, etc.)
  • A copy of any letters to parents, teachers, administrators, and students (letters of consent, cover letters for study, etc).
  • Informed consent letters are required and must be active if students are involved.  Consent letters must include:
  Purpose of the research and how the findings will be used
  What the subject's participation will involve by way of procedures, time, etc. 
  Possible benefits for the subject, district or others 
  Statement of risk 
  Statement of confidentiality 
  Statement indicating that the subject is free to withdraw from the research at any time without penalty
  Application should also indicate the specific campuses the researcher would like to contact


What are the study requirements?

  • The study description of methodological procedures include, research design, sampling design (including specifically targeted schools), and data analysis.
  • The research design includes clearly-stated research questions and hypothesis. These questions and hypothesis are derived and supported by previously published research.
  • The study must benefit SBISD.
  • The study does not seriously interrupt the regular school program and makes no undue demands upon the time of students, teachers, administrators, or other district personnel.
  • The study indicates a date by which the Research and Evaluation Department can expect to receive a final copy of the study.
  • The study does not take place during districtwide testing periods.

What forms need to be completed and submitted?

  1. Research Application
  2. Confidentiality Contract


What are the procedures?


Researcher must submit all documentation required before the formal review process will begin. 



Researcher will receive confirmation that all documents were received via email. 



If the External Research Review Committee (ERRC) approves the proposal as submitted, an approval letter will be sent to the researcher with copies to all the school administrators who will be involved in the proposed research. 


If the ERRC does not approve a proposal as submitted, the application will be denied on the grounds of one of the criteria listed under Reasons for Denial of Research. Criterion deficiencies will be outlined for the applicant. 


The department of Research & Evaluation will notify the researcher of its decision within a month after all materials have been received by SBISD. Therefore, proposals wishing to start within 30 days of submission will not be approved. 

Note: District approval to conduct research does not imply campus consent. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure individual school approval prior to conducting research. (District approval must precede campus contact.)