The purpose of this policy is to advise schools on processes to manage requests to conduct research in schools.
- School leaders are often contacted by researchers from universities, research organisations or not-for-profit organisations with requests to conduct research and evaluation projects in their school.
- The authority to approve research and evaluation projects in schools rests with principals.
- Researchers must first have a Research in Schools and Early Childhood Settings (RISEC) application approved by the department.
Assessing research applications
Prior to contacting schools, researchers should submit a Research in Schools and Early Childhood Settings application to the department.
Applicants are asked to detail research questions and scope, and the strategy for contacting and recruiting schools.
The department reviews this application to ensure research is relevant, ethical and the overall strategy considers burdens and risks appropriately.
Researchers must gain approval from the department in advance of approaching schools, and provide their letter of approval to the school principal or site manager.
Departmental approval gives researchers the authority to approach school principals or site managers, but does not signify endorsement of the project.
The final decision about whether or not to proceed rests with the principal or site manager.
Participating in research
Depending on the scope of the project, research can involve a range of activities including surveys, interviews or classroom-based observations and interventions.
These activities will be clearly identified by the researcher in their initial communications with the school, and in the information and consent forms provided to participants.
The decision to participate in any of these projects is at the discretion of each school principal, who has no obligation to approve the project.
Principals may want to consider whether:
- the research is of particular relevance for the school
- they perceive a broader benefit from the overall intent of the research
- it can be undertaken without an unreasonable impact on staff and students.
If principals agree for their school to be involved, individuals will be contacted by the researchers and invited to provide their informed consent to participate. For students under 18 years of age, consent will be sought from parents or carers as well.
The decision to participate in any research project rests with the individual participant.
Principals are encouraged to discuss additional strategies for minimising disruptions to regular teaching and learning with the researcher.
All approaches or applications to conduct research should be accompanied by a letter of approval from the department. Research or evaluation that has been specifically commissioned by the department will be clearly identified as such.
Quantitative and qualitative data collection activities in which participants are recruited through Victorian government schools and/or early childhood settings – participants include children, young people, families, or staff employed in these settings.
Reviewed 06 March 2023