• Gwinnett County Public Schools
    Please read prior to requesting approval to conduct research


    The purposes of this process are to govern and coordinate research conducted in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), to protect staff and students’ safety and time, and to ensure that the research is of high quality and will inform educational practices.

    Board Policy ICC - Educational Research

    The Gwinnett County Board of Education recognizes that systematic study of the educational process and related variables can contribute significantly to the development and implementation of high-quality instructional programs. The Board, therefore, encourages the conduct of well-designed educational research projects within the district.

    While recognizing the value of educational research, the Board also has a responsibility to protect students, parents, and staff from harassment; invasion of privacy; physical, psychological, social, and educational injury; and substantial distraction from teaching and learning. Consequently, the Board requires that all research proposals be carefully screened by the Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Analytics and the Gwinnett Institutional Review Board to ensure that the proposed research has potential value for the district and is consistent with district philosophies, legal obligations, and standards of good scholarship.

    The Executive Director of Research and Evaluation must provide written approval before a research project may be conducted in the district. The Director and the appropriate division will be responsible for monitoring any approved research.

    How does GCPS define types of research?

    The American Educational Research Association (AERA) defines educational research as the scientific field of study that examines education and learning processes and the human attributes, interactions, organizations, and institutions that shape educational outcomes.

    At GCPS, the IRB reviews educational research proposals that require data, resources, or analysis from Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) students, staff, or parents. To be recommended for approval, educational research proposals must align with the district’s Strategic Direction and meet the GCPS Research Standards, including:

  • What are the two types of research proposals?

    Internal Research:

    • Any research initiated by a GCPS employee as related to their roles, responsibilities, and job duties; or research initiated and commissioned by GCPS and conducted under the direction of GCPS staff (e.g., literacy screenings, pre/post-test administration).

    External Research: 

    • Research initiated by a GCPS employee for the purpose of degree requirement, or any study initiated by a non-GCPS employee. These IRB procedures apply to external research projects.


    Which proposal should I complete?

    GCPS Employee requesting to conduct research at their assigned location only:

    • When GCPS employees plan to conduct research at their assigned location only, the researcher will not complete an IRB proposal. The employee must complete a Local School Research Request Form that is approved/signed by the employee's principal. The completed Local School Research Request form must be emailed in Adobe pdf format to the Department of Research,Evaluation, and Analytics at the Instructional Support Center for documentation and filing. No further approval is necessary or available.

    GCPS employees requesting to conduct research at a school other than the school where they are employed, at multiple schools, all central office employees and all non-GCPS employees: 

    The Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Analytics must provide written approval before a research project may be conducted in the district.

    With whom does initial contact occur?

    Initial contact will occur when the researcher submits the appropriate research proposal.

    • Researchers who complete a GCPS IRB Proposal should have an approval letter and research ID number from the Department of Research, Evaluation, and Analytics prior to making any formal agreements with principals, system staff, school staff, parents, or students.
    • Researchers who complete a Local School Research Request Form must have approval from their principal prior to making any contact with school staff, parents, or students.

    How are Proposals reviewed?

    The GCPS Institutional Review Board (IRB), which includes Research and Evaluation staff, school administrators, content area specialists, and senior district leaders, evaluates proposals based on GCPS Research Standards and determines which will be approved GCPS Research Standards.

    Please note that schools and teachers may elect not to participate in your research study, even if your proposal is approved by the IRB at the district level.

    IRB Research Proposal Review Timeline (See table below.)

    Proposals to conduct research within Gwinnett County Public Schools are reviewed every other month. The review process (from submission deadline to decision letter mailing) takes approximately eight weeks.

    • Proposals to conduct research are due by midnight of the submission deadline date.
    • Proposals are reviewed bi-monthly.
    • Researchers will receive a decision letter via e-mail regarding the status of their proposal.
    • The Department of Research, Evaluation, and Analytics does not provide expedited review.

    Month of IRB Review

    Submission Deadline (by Midnight)

    Decision Issued the Week of

    July 2023

    June 19, 2023

    July 31, 2023

    September 2023

    August 14, 2023

    September 25, 2023

    November 2023

    October 16, 2023

    November 27, 2023

    January 2024

    December 11, 2023

    January 29, 2024

    March 2024

    February 19, 2024

    April 1, 2024

    May 2024

    April 15, 2024

    May 27, 2024

    July 2024

    June 17, 2024

    July 29, 2024


    Completing/Submitting an IRB Proposal

    • Please answer all questions in the Proposal and provide all supporting information requested.
    • Incomplete Proposals will not be reviewed.
    • GCPS will not edit nor make changes in a Proposal for the researcher.
    • Degree-seeking researchers must show proof of their college/university endorsement. To do so, your Proposal must be submitted by your major professor or a faculty advisor who is a college/university staff member. Proposals submitted directly from graduate student researchers will not be accepted.
    • Proposals must be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word (any version) or Adobe pdf format. Proposals submitted in both formats will not be accepted. Proposals must be submitted as a single file attachment to Irma.McClarity@gcpsk12.org by midnight of the submission deadline listed above. If you do not receive an email confirming the receipt of your Proposal within two business days after submitting it, please call Irma McClarity at 678-301-7090.

    Whom should I contact if I have questions?

    Questions about research review procedures or the acceptability of research practices should be referred to:


    Dr. Sheril Bryan, Director of Evaluation
    and Partnerships


    Dr. Shanna Ricketts, Executive Director
    Research, Evaluation, and Analytics

    Irma McClarity, Administrative Assistant
    Research, Evaluation, and Analytics

    If your Research Proposal is approved:

    You must provide a copy of your approval letter to the school principal(s) when formally seeking school participation. The approval letter contains your Research Proposal title and its assigned Research ID number. Since some research projects involve several representatives, each representative making contact with GCPS principals or staff must have a copy of the approval letter. It is also necessary to refer to the ID number when contacting anyone at the district level regarding a research project.

    Contact the Department of Research, Evaluation, and Analytics if any substantive changes to your approved plan become necessary.


    If your Research Proposal is denied:
    You may submit a revised version of your proposal for a later review month. At the discretion of the Executive Director, your Proposal may or may not be forwarded to the IRB for review. A revised proposal may still be denied by the IRB on the grounds of concerns listed in the original denial letter or on new grounds. The IRB will not accept a proposal that has been denied twice.


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