• Types of Research

    Any researcher conducting primary or secondary data collection must submit a research application.

    Types of Data  

    Primary Data: Your research project entails gathering individual-level data (such as surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, or similar direct data-collection methods) from or about Houston Independent School Board (HISD) students, staff, or parents, or students.

    Your research proposal should encompass the following information concerning your research study:

    • Clearly state your research questions and objectives and elaborate on the implications of your research for Houston Independent School Board (HISD) schools. Additionally, highlight the educational challenges your research aims to address within the HISD context.
    • Provide a description of the study site(s) and outline a timeline that details your research methodology and associated activities.
    • Present a comprehensive research methodology, including specifics about the subjects involved and the instruments and procedures to be utilized for data collection. Be precise about participant numbers and recruitment strategies.
    • Offer a comprehensive explanation of your data analysis plan.
    • If your research involves direct student and staff involvement, estimate the time required from participants for the research activities.
    • Thoroughly assess the potential risks and benefits of your study.


    Secondary Data: You are seeking access to non-publicly available individual-level data stored within HISD databases (secondary data), including information related to demographics, academic performance, attendance, personnel, or other district records.

    If you require secondary data, you will need to complete items (a-f) listed above under Primary Data Collection; and

    • Specify the type and description of student- and school-level data you are requesting from HISD.
    • Complete a Data Privacy Agreement to use or request access to individual-level administrative data on students or staff. Privacy Agreements are required to access the following:
      • Individual-level administrative data on HISD students, staff, and student-related-persons; or
      • Aggregate-level administrative data not publicly available.


    Collecting new data for your proposal, you will require: 

    • Consent letters for all study participants, including school administrators, teachers, other school staff, students, and parents. Note that parental consent forms must be provided in Spanish as well, considering the significant Spanish-speaking parent community within HISD.
    • A plan ensuring the confidentiality of research subjects and guaranteeing the anonymous reporting of study findings.
    • Official permission from school principals to conduct research within their institutions.
    • Copies of all recruitment materials, such as flyers and brochures, used for enrolling study participants.
    • Copies of surveys, questionnaires, interview and focus group protocols, accompanied by technical data demonstrating the validity and reliability of the research instruments.


    When to submit District Sponsorship or Principal Permission Form:

    Principal Permission Form 

    Your project will require principals’ permission if students or staff are directly involved for up to 14 HISD campuses. The Principal Permission Form will be created based on your online application and will be emailed to you once the application is completed. You will send the link to the Form to the campuses that you would like to participate in your study. The Form will include information regarding the number of participants, the nature of their participation, the time commitment, and their designation (for example, students, teachers, and so on.).  


    District Sponsorship Form 

    District Sponsorship is required for any research, district-wide or requiring participation of over 15 campuses. For any external research requiring district level sponsorship, additional approval will be required after the research application is submitted. The IRB will contact you with additional instruction once they have reviewed your application. District sponsorship involves external researchers providing evidence that the district and its partners: 

    • Have reviewed the research project overview and related research activities. 
    • Have examined all study materials to ensure alignment with HISD objectives, values, and, if applicable, current TEKS. 
    • Express interest in participating in the research project. 
    • Believe that the research will contribute valuable insights that inform department or district initiatives. 

    Amendments for Approved Research Proposals/Projects   


    Seeking an extension or alteration to a previously approved proposal's timeline does not necessitate the submission of an entirely new application. Instead, please email research@houstonisd.org for instructions on submitting a modification.