External Research Requests

External research is initiated or led by organizations, agencies or individuals from outside the SCDSB. An external research project may only begin following approval from the SCDSB’s External Research Review Committee (ERRC). The ERRC ensures that applications to conduct research with the SCDSB meet all protocols for ethics and privacy protection of its students, parents/guardians and/or staff. The ERRC rigorously reviews all applications to ensure compliance with SCDSB criteria.

Who may apply?

Applications are accepted from:

  • masters or doctoral thesis candidates
  • institutionally-funded projects
  • externally funded projects
  • community or agency organizations

To apply, review the SCDSB Research Review Checklist, then complete and return the SCDSB's external research application form. Inquiries about external research may be directed to research@scdsb.on.ca.  

Application process

Application packages are reviewed by the chair of the ERRC upon receipt. Should the chair require clarification from the applicant, they will be contacted before their application is submitted to the committee for review.  

Applicants should review the SCDSB Research Review Checklist before submitting an application. This checklist outlines the five key criteria used by the ERRC when completing a review. Once the applicant has reviewed the criteria and ensured that their project aligns with the SCDSB’s criteria, they are invited to complete the Application to Conduct Research in the Simcoe County District School Board.

Approval

If an application is approved by the ERRC, the chair of the committee will make initial contact with the principal of the school(s) listed in the application (if applicable to the project). 

An approval from the ERRC in no way obligates principals, staff, students or their families to take part in any research. An approval serves to inform potential participants, including school administration, that an external research project has met all required ethics protocols. School administrators may choose to not participate in a research project at their own professional discretion. The decision for non-participation by school administration will be supported and upheld by Research and Decision Support Services and the ERRC. 

The applicant will be contacted within two days of an ERRC decision. Arrangements for the research project will then be made through the principal investigator (PI) and the school administrator (or their delegate). Participation from any individual or group is strictly voluntary, and all consent forms should clearly state that participants may refuse to participate or may withdraw from the study (without consequence) at any time. 

Key considerations for applicants before submission

All instructions for applicants are clearly provided on the application form. The following are key considerations for all applicants: 

  • Any person who will have direct involvement with students must provide certification of a Criminal Background Check Vulnerable Sector Screening (CBC-VSS) prior to commencement of the study and must have been obtained within the previous six months
  • The rights and well-being of study participants must be protected
  • Under freedom of information legislation, information collected for school records is not obtained with the expectation of disclosure to independent researchers. The SCDSB will not allow for identification of individuals or groups in external research projects
  • No SCDSB school or teacher is identified in any report
  • Parental permission is required for any research with or about students. Permission must be informed consent (e.g. a consent form) 
  • It is not advisable for projects to begin during the month of September within the elementary or secondary panel, nor during the first month of the second semester at secondary schools 
  • Demands on schools and study participants are to be minimal. Little conflict with students’ academic program would occur 
  • Any adverse events are to be reported to the SCDSB Research and Decision Support Services department within 24 hours   
  • Permission to conduct research in the SCDSB can be withdrawn at any time
  • Approval to conduct research is for one year. A renewal may be requested from  research@scdsb.on.ca