Research FAQ

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: Who should I contact if I am interested in conducting research in Durham Public Schools?

    A: Contact Meredith Mooney ( in the Research & Accountability Office. You are NOT allowed to contact principals, teachers, department heads, or other school officials. All research in Durham Public Schools MUST be reviewed by the Office of Research & Accountability. Solicitation for research cannot begin until approval has been received. 

    Q: What is considered research?

    A: Any investigation into students or staff in Durham Public Schools is considered research. This includes all data collection involving DPS students or staff, including surveys.

    Q: Can you pay the application fee online or by credit card? 

    A: The only approved forms of payment for the application are cash, check, or money order. Those can be mailed or dropped off at our Central Services Office (511 Cleveland St. Durham, NC 27701). Please make sure the check/money order is made out to Durham Public Schools. Also, if you mail your payment, please address the envelope to Meredith Mooney to ensure our department is aware of the payment. 

    Q: How do you make your decisions?

    The Research Review Committee will review the proposal based on the following criteria:

    • You must be a DPS Employee completing a doctoral degree or an external agency outside of Durham Public Schools, such as colleges and universities.
      • Undergraduate and Master’s level projects will not be accepted regardless of employment status within Durham Public Schools.
    • There MUST be minimal impact on instructional time.
    • No additional assessments will be given for data collection and use beyond what is typically administered in the school year.
    • The research should be beneficial to DPS and aligned to the Guiding Principles and comply with the Research Standards. Risks to DPS and its students MUST be minimal.
    • Research conducted primarily to add to the general body of literature, without significant benefit to DPS, its schools, or departments may be considered. However, they will be considered low-priority proposals and have a very low chance of being approved.
    • All data collection and site visits MUST be completed by April 30.
    • All research must support the Guiding Principles and best practices.
    • All research MUST be legal, ethical, and compliant with DPS policies and the DPS Research Standards. The privacy of research participants must be protected at all times.
    • Requests for data involving personal student data and information about their families will not be approved. (No research involving personal and/or controversial student/family data will be approved.)
    • Researchers must be qualified to conduct research in the school district. The design and implementation of the proposal must be complete, thorough, well-constructed, and acceptable to DPS.

    Q: What are some reasons why research applications are typically not approved? 

    A: Below is a sample list of research applications that would be denied. 

    • Data collection involving a significant loss of instructional time for students and DPS employees.
    • Research requiring district resources (DPS employees, students, parents time AND/OR large numbers of participants).
    • Research requiring particular risk for students, teachers, schools, parents, etc., such as external research dealing with physical, mental, emotional, social health-related matters; self-worth; family/personal problems; race; sexual behavior or orientation; illegal activities; etc. Benefits provided by external research in these areas do not compensate for the potential risks to participants.
    • Research scheduled to be conducted in the latter portion of the second semester (April through June).


    *Please review this document for other frequently asked questions. For any other questions not covered regarding conducting research in DPS, please email Meredith Mooney at