Conducting Research in CMS

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) will allow qualified individuals and organizations to engage in professional research and evaluation projects with the potential to improve learning conditions, student outcomes, and staff or program effectiveness in CMS. This provision applies to individuals or agencies not associated with CMS and to CMS employees conducting research outside the scope of their employment with CMS.

    All persons interested in conducting research in CMS must obtain approval from the Office of Accountability in addition to IRB approval from a university or private IRB. The university or private IRB approval must be obtained before submitting a research application to CMS. Research includes, but is not limited to, surveys, interviews, focus groups, and classroom observations involving CMS students, parents or staff or use of archival CMS data. This generally includes program evaluation. CMS defines program evaluation as an evaluation conducted only for internal use to make programmatic decisions. Suppose you are conducting an evaluation that will be published in whole or in part (including websites, brochures, presentations, etc.). In that case, this is considered a research study by CMS, and you must complete the CMS research application process.

    All applications are reviewed according to Federal Regulations governing the protection of human subjects, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and North Carolina Student Privacy Laws Article 29.

    If you are interested in using CMS data in your study, please note that some data is available to the public through national and state websites - see our Resources Page. Please note that all CMS quantitative data not available publicly must be requested through the Office of Accountability; school employees cannot provide data.

    We strongly encourage researchers to contact a district level staff member from the appropriate department as you are selecting your research topic. The district level staff can help develop your research questions to align with district priorities so that the study would provide actionable information. Please note this will not ensure your application will be approved but is a crucial first step.

    We strongly recommend that researchers review the CMS Research Guidelines research before planning their research study

    To avoid duplicative research, please see the document below of Ongoing and Recently Completed Research Studies. We will likely deny any studies similar to studies on this list. If you would like more information on any of these studies to determine if your study might be duplicative, contact Susie Freije, who will provide a copy of the research questions and proposal summary.


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Procedure for Submitting a Research Application

  • Step 1 - Contact district-level staff of relevant department to determine interest in the research topic

  • Step 2 - Review research request guidelines

  • Step 3 - Review the Data Sharing Agreement (DSA)

  • Step 4 - Complete the application

  • Step 5 - Submit application fee

  • About the Research Review Panel