Anyone wishing to access Mesquite Independent School District (MISD) resources to conduct research studies—other than studies conducted by MISD—must obtain approval from the Mesquite External Research Committee (MERC).
The following guidelines describe the general principles underlying the review process and the procedure to follow in submitting a research proposal for review. Only proposals that have a clear, direct, and immediate benefit to the district in terms of informing practice will be considered for approval. We are limited in our ability to provide access to student data. Please understand that we can only accommodate requests for data that do not involve merging of data from different sources or across multiple school years. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the committee chair, Dr. Janine Fields, Deputy Superintendent, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These requirements outlined below are critical for research permission. Please adhere to the following guidelines in determining a proposal for research or to conduct a project as a class assignment.
MISD receives many requests for research and its capacity to accommodate all of them is limited. Because research facilitation and administration requires a great deal of effort and resources, MISD will use its discretion in determining which research activities will be approved.
MISD must recognize a value to participating in proposed research. MISD expects to be furnished with copies any final reports or relevant findings.
No instructional time can be used for research activities. All research interventions planned to take place during regular instructional time must be approved by MISD as standard curriculum. If it is not MISD curriculum, it will not occur during instructional time.
Please note that the MERC is NOT an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB). The MERC convenes after you have university permission and have submitted for review to the IRB or HRSB as appropriate.
Applications to the MERC must be complete. Typical key elements of a complete application include a complete online Request for Access application form, description of the research protocol, evidence of IRB or HSRB action, and appropriate consent/assent materials. Include any surveys, questionnaires, test forms, interview protocols, and any other instruments to be used.
To ensure MISD oversight and centralization of project management, researchers should not contact individual principals, teachers, staff, etc. about research planning or coordination. Researchers should not contact building staff prior to submitting a research request to the MERC.
All research proposals are reviewed based on the following criteria:
The time involved for students, teachers, administration, and staff in terms of minimal disruption to instructional time
Does the proposal conform to standard of protecting human subjects?
Was the application and content submitted correctly with all required fields completed?
The researcher must have a signed parent permission slip for each minor student who is involved. Students older than 18 years can provide student consent without parental assent.
If research includes comparing any pupil records to determine how a student’s progress has been affected as a result of the research, explicit parental (or student age 18 and above) consent must be obtained not only for participation in the research, but for MISD to provide the researcher with the specific records.
In lieu of formal consent/assent, the MERC may find that notification letters to families are an acceptable means to inform families of research being conducted in the classroom. In almost all cases, notification letters are associated with minimally intrusive research focusing solely on the teacher without any observations or data collected about students. In such cases, staff consent would still be required.
The MERC will inform the researcher by letter of the action taken on the Request for Access application. Once the researcher has received the approval letter, it will be the researcher’s responsibility to contact the school (or district contact) cited in your application and make arrangements with appropriate personnel for the implementation of the research project.
Prior to approval, the MERC makes every effort to ensure that sufficient interest and capacity exists in the school or program area needed to accommodate a research proposal. Even after MERC approval, the Principal of any campus or administrator of any program may decline participation in a research study.
Important Information to Note
Reflecting state and federal guidelines, MISD cannot freely disclose who receives free and reduced price lunches. To obtain this information, consent forms must explicitly state a researcher’s intent to obtain this information, that the information will be used only for the research indicated and will not be re-disclosed. The signed consent form must also specifically request that MISD provide the lunch status information to the researcher.
Additionally, employees of the District often need access to sensitive information to carry out their jobs, however this access does not grant them permission to use data for reasons other than the specific purposes for which they were granted initial access. Schools and school staff are generally not considered “owners” of data for purposes of determining the appropriateness of its release. A data owner is the administrator, director or supervisor of the division that collects and/or uses data on behalf of the entire District. In other words, just because a teacher has access to testing information does not give them explicit right to use this information without permission.