Conducting Research in Cobb County School District
Please be sure to thoroughly read the procedures for conducting research in Cobb County Schools. The research application is available
in either Word or Acrobat format.
Send the completed research application to:
Cobb County School District
Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
514 Glover Street
Marietta, GA 30060
Research Application and Procedures - Word format
Research Procedures in Cobb County Schools
What is the purpose of these procedures?
The overall purpose of these procedures is to establish a standard manner of application review for either individuals or external agencies
wishing to conduct research in the Cobb County School District. Standard procedures protect staff and student time from unnecessary data
collection, allow the district to review applications in light of existing laws and statutes about privacy and research, and encourage
quality research to improve practice in Cobb County School District.
What does district policy require of research projects?
- Permission to conduct research that is granted by the Office of C-STEM, Assessment & Research.
- Assurance that individuals, schools, or the district are not identifiable in the final research study or report.
- The proposed project does not have an undue effect or interfere with the operation of schools in the district.
How is research defined?
Research is defined as any data collection from or about Cobb County students, parents, or staff. Research includes, but is not limited to,
data collection for the purposes of fulfilling the requirements of a thesis or dissertation, publication in a journal or book, completion of
a higher education class project, or to fulfill evaluation requirements of grants.
What are external studies?
External studies to be conducted in the Cobb district are those initiated by an outside agency or individual; those initiated by a staff
person as an individual for purposes or uses outside his or her district role. External studies also include national or statewide studies
(except those mandated by the state) and evaluation of grant projects.
What is the research application process?
BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR RESEARCH:
- Obtain a research application and applicant agreement form from the the Office of C-STEM, Assessment & Research or the district webpage.
- Complete the application and have it signed by the sponsoring agency, usually the class professor.
The application must be typed. Handwritten applications will not be accepted.
- Read and sign the applicant agreement form.
- Attach copies of any questionnaires, interview protocols, tests, or data collection instruments that will be used in the study.
- Prepare participant consent forms. If data will be collected from or on individual students,
parents or staff, permission to participate will be required in most cases and a copy of the participant agreement must
be included with the research application. The letter should permit the parent, student, or staff member to give
full and knowing consent. Consent cannot be passive. The final permission letter must:
- Be in writing.
- Be signed by the parent or guardian giving consent, as well as the student, if applicable.
- Be dated on the date consent is given.
- Specify the reason for data collection or release.
- Specify the data to be collected or the student data records to be released.
- Identify the persons and institution to which the information will be released.
- Describe any feedback to be provided to the parent, student, or staff member.
- Indicate that participation in the project is voluntary; will not affect student grades or staff
employment/evaluation; and that consent may be withdrawn at any time without penalty.
- Provide the name and contact information of the researcher or agency conducting the project should the participant have additional questions.
- If student surveys are used as part of the project, parents must be offered an opportunity to view survey questions prior to giving consent.
- Submit the completed application with supporting documents (sample participant consent forms, instruments or protocols) to the Office of C-STEM,
Assessment & Research a minimum of four weeks prior to the beginning of the study. Applicant should be aware that applications for approval of dissertations may
take longer than the three weeks.
What happens after the application is submitted?
- As applications are received in the Office of Accountability, each is logged and reviewed for
completeness. If any information/documentation is missing or incomplete, the review process is suspended until the
researcher is contacted and complete information/documentation is provided.
- The Chief Accountability and Research Officer or designee establishes a review committee of
central administrators and routes the application to committee members for review and recommendations. Central
administrators are asked to evaluate the application and recommend whether it should be accepted, rejected, or
accepted with required changes. Central administrators are asked to respond to the application within 10 working days.
- After all central level administrators have provided recommendations for the project, the Chief
Accountability and Research Officer or designee reviews the recommendations of committee members and judges whether the
application should be administratively accepted, rejected, or accepted with changes.
- Schools or affected departments are sent copies of the research application and notified that the
researcher will be contacting them personally within a few days. If the school/department chooses not to participate,
it must notify the Office of Accountability it does not wish to participate.
- The researcher is notified in writing that the project has been administratively approved.
Once administrative approval has been granted, he/she must contact the individual schools to obtain approval for
participation. A list of schools and principals to contact for approval will be provided.
- Administrative approval does not necessarily constitute approval for the study to be
conducted in any specific school. Prior to final approval to conduct research in specific schools, approval of principals
and others involved must be obtained.
- Once the Principal Agreement to Participate is completed and returned to the Office of
Accountability, a final approval letter will be sent to the researcher via US mail to the address included on the application.
Is there any way to enhance the probability of getting the research application approved?
Studies related to topics of interest for Cobb County School District will receive high priority for approval. See
Attachment A for a list of CCSD research priorities. Researchers are encouraged to contact the Office of Accountability prior to completion of
thesis or dissertation plans to ensure closer coordination between the district and the researcher. Discussing a
specific project with a member of the Office of Accountability before details are complete may also assist a
researcher in creating a viable research design.
What is the basis for decisions on research applications?
The criteria by which research applications are reviewed include the following:
- Study results should have high value to an individual school, the Cobb County School District, or to education in general.
- Study should be compatible with CCSD policy and sound educational practice.
- The design and implementation of the project should be sound and acceptable to the school system.
What happens if the application is rejected?
- If it appears that an application could be approved with revisions, the applicant may be advised to resubmit.
- In some cases, the Chief Accountability and Research Officer or designee may convene the review committee to hear an appeal of the decision.
What are the requirements while the project is conducted?
- The researcher is responsible for returning the signed agreement forms from individual principals/departments.
Final approval from the district will not be made until forms are received from the researcher. Meetings, interviews,
administration of instruments must be scheduled far enough in advance to allow adequate planning.
- Parental permission for direct participation of any student in the research project is required. The researcher
must provide sufficient copies of an approved parental permission form to permit collection of two copies of the
permission slips. The principal will retain one copy of the parent permission at the local school.
- Information about the student will not be made available to the researcher until parental permission is secured.
- The confidential nature of records must be observed and privacy and rights of the individual and schools
must be respected. Data with names or other identifiers (such as student numbers) MUST be disposed of when their use is complete.
- Individuals conducting research in the Cobb County School District must abide by standards of professional
conduct at all times while they are working in the schools. Failure to do so will be sufficient cause for terminating the
research study. Any violations of procedures noted by teachers or other participants in the study will be reported to the
school principal. The principal should then discuss any such violations with the Director of C-STEM, Assessment & Research,
who will address the matter with the sponsoring agency or individual researcher.
- Studies are to be completed by May 1st unless otherwise arranged through the Office of the Director of C-STEM, Assessment & Research.
What happens after the study is completed?
The Office of C-STEM, Assessment & Research must be provided with summaries of the data collected and conclusions drawn from the
research as soon as the researcher has them completed. If the study is reported in a journal or other format (book,
presentation, etc.) the author will provide CCSD with a copy for the professional library. Personal feedback to
principals or others involved in the study is strongly encouraged.
Who administers the procedures?
Procedures are administered through the Office of C-STEM, Assessment & Research of Cobb County Schools. The Director of the C-STEM,
Assessment & Research Office is responsible for administration. If there are questions or concerns regarding the research process,
they should be addressed to Melissa Morse at 770-426-3552.
Research Priorities for Cobb County School District for 2012 - 2013
The research priorities listed below are
considered important topics which, if studied, would
significantly benefit the Cobb County School District in
planning for increased student success.
Response to Intervention
What impact is Rti having on the number of referrals to
special education? Is Rti reducing the number of referrals to
special education, why or why not? Is Rti effective?
What impact does professional learning for special education
teachers have on student performance in CCSD? What is the
impact of early intervention (preschool) for SWD? What are
effective interventions for increasing reading skills for SWDs?
What are effective interventions for increasing math skills for
Technology and Student Learning
As the amount and type of technology increases, the district
is interested in learning more about how technology is
integrated into the classroom and the effect on student
engagement in learning and achievement.
This topic includes the impact of federal and state
legislation (NCLB) on school culture and student learning.
Research is needed to understand how schools make changes in
their plans to address accountability requirements and
whether or not such plans produce intended effects.
Services to Special Needs Students
There are several areas of interest to Cobb Schools in this
category. What are effective interventions that
address students at risk for dropping out of school?
What are motivational strategies for high school students
who are low readers? Do schools with comprehensive
school counseling programs show greater
increases/improvements in the following areas compared to
schools without comprehensive school counseling programs
(Standardized test scores, Graduation rates, GPAs, Students
taking AP classes, Students taking SAT/ACT, Students
enrolling in postsecondary institutions, Attendance,
Discipline referrals, Parent engagement)?
Advanced Learning Options
The research priority for Advanced Learning is to assess the
extent to which talent development, gifted and AVID programs
support increased participation and success in advanced
Research is needed regarding the development of professional
learning communities. For example, how are such communities
developed? Sustained? What role does leadership play in the
development of professional learning communities?
Research is needed to identify effective strategies and
techniques to assist students in transitioning from one
level of schooling to another. Also, research is needed on
the integration of school-to-work strategies into the high
school academic curriculum.
Research is needed on the most effective ways to maximize the
integration of content instruction and improve achievement
in all areas. What are the effects of increasing
minutes of instruction in one area on the achievement in
other areas? What has been the impact of inclusion
classes, remedial classes (middle and high), ESOL services,
or the Rti process on instruction and student achievement?