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.
Researchers may go to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools BoardDocs to review the Education Research Policy.
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. 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.
Researchers who would be collecting data during the first semester 2023-24 must submit an application by July 3, 2023. We are no longer accepting applications for studies that would be collecting data first semester. Studies that only require archival data may still be submitted.
Researchers who would be collecting data during the second semester 2023-24 must submit an application by November 6, 2023. We are no longer accepting applications for studies that would be collecting data second semester. Studies that only require archival data may still be submitted.
Applications are being accepted for studies to collect data in the 2024-2025 school year. Please check back later for deadlines for first and second semester of the 2024-2025 school year.
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
Application Review Calendar
About the Research Review Panel