Research Guidelines and Applications

The External Research Procedure has been updated to align with the Durham District School Board's Indigenous Rights, Human Rights and Workplace policies, as well as changes to the organizational structure.  Additional clarification has been included on the considerations for review, the requirements for the application submission, and alignment with relevant legislation, declarations (UNDRIP) and policy statements (TCPS 2.0).  A new online application process has been created to replace the historical approach of mailing in multiple hard copies.

Conducting Research in the Durham District School Board

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) supports research activities in its schools and departments that align with its strategic priorities, operating goals, Indigenous Rights, Human Rights and Workplace policies. Organizations and individuals interested in conducting research involving DDSB schools, staff, students or parents must follow the application processes which apply to: 

  • External Research Application: 

    • Non-Board employee.

    • Board employees collaborating with non-Board agencies.

  • Internal Project: 

    • It is a school or classroom project related to local or regional initiatives.

    • A teacher would like to conduct data collection in their own classroom.

    • A teacher would like to conduct data collection beyond their own classroom, subject to the approval of the Principal and, when appropriate, other staff.

    • An employee would like to conduct data collection in their own area of responsibility, subject to the approval of their supervisor.

    • An employee conducting data collection that meets specific Board needs.

The DDSB is proud to collaborate with and support both internal and external researchers and is also mindful that our priority is to students’ education, welfare and well-being. Research activities must not compromise or interfere with students’ access to high quality academic programs, welfare or well-being.

Applications for conducting research are reviewed by the Research Review Committee (RRC).  Please do not approach any staff member or administrator about conducting research prior to receiving approval from the DDSB Research Review Committee.  Applications are reviewed with the following considerations:

The application must:

  • Be complete (includes all data collection tools and supplemental materials referenced in the form).

  • Align with board Indigenous Rights, Human Rights, Safe and Respectful Workplace policies.

  • Align with board priorities.

  • Account for system contexts.

  • Not significantly interfere with instructional time.

  • Not place undue burden on board staff to administer/coordinate.

  • Not duplicate existing or scheduled research activities.

  • Meet privacy and data governance requirements.

  • Is not for marketing or commercial purposes.


It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials relevant to the application (data collection tools, letters of consent, etc.) are included in the submission.  

At the discretion of the Chair, the review of the application may be expedited if:

  • The study involves a minimal number of data collection activities and participant groups over a short period of time and poses no risk to participants or

  • It is the renewal of a previously approved project where there has been little or no change in the research protocol.

Please note that meetings are scheduled throughout the year in response to the volume of applications that are received (historically 4-5 meetings a year).


Due to the high volume of applications received, only a select few applications will be approved. Individuals interested in accessing DDSB schools/departments are asked to carefully read over these guidelines.  If there is any additional supplemental documentation related to the application, they should be emailed to All requests to conduct research with DDSB are reviewed by the DDSB Research Review Committee (RRC).

All applicants will receive a letter indicating whether or not their application has been approved (typically 2-3 business days following the meeting). 

Post-Approval Process

In order to facilitate a streamlined process, the RRC will coordinate contact between researchers and DDSB staff and stakeholders (e.g., principals, teachers, trustees, central office staff, students, parents, etc.). Researchers are asked to refrain from directly contacting DDSB staff and stakeholders until their research application has been approved and coordinating efforts have been established with the RRC.

The RRC will notify the Lead Investigator of the final decision. If the study receives approval the RRC will also notify the Principal or Manager of the opportunity to participate in the Research Project and will encourage staff to contact the Lead Investigator if interested. 

Any activities related to a research project may NOT commence without prior review by the RRC. Once the RRC has approved a research project, school Principals and/or Department Managers must be willing to accommodate the study in their setting. If Principals and Department Managers agree to participate, their staff, students and/or parents will be notified about the opportunity to participate. 

Please be aware that individuals recruited for research projects are under no obligation to participate. 

The Researcher is expected to: 

  • Gather and handle data and research materials in a manner consistent with the highest standards of ethical and scholarly practice (fraud, falsification of data or other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will result in immediate revocation of permission to conduct research); 

  • Notify the RRC of the schools/departments involved in the study (if not already mentioned in the application) 

  • Notify the RRC of any changes to the research protocol; 

  • Notify the RRC of any issues that may impact schools, students and staff 

  • Submit a copy of research findings (copies are to be made available to the RRC and participating schools/staff and parents) Future requests to conduct research at DDSB will not be reviewed until final reports of completed studies have been received.

Review DDSB's Research Guidelines.

Complete an External Research Application.